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New Delhi, Sep 12 (IANS) Distinguished advocate and former Rajya Sabha member Fali S. Nariman Friday said that the “majority” central government is not doing much to control the tirade against minorities, and called on the minorities panel to take steps to ensure minority rights are safeguarded.
“We have been hearing on television and reading in newspapers almost on a daily basis a tirade by one or more individuals or groups against one or another section of citizens who belong to a religious minority and the criticism has been that the majority government at the centre has done nothing to stop this tirade. I agree,” Nariman said while delivering the 7th annual lecture organised by the National Commission for Minorities.
“I do implore the (minorities) commission and its distinguished members to take steps as an independent commission set up by parliament and not controlled by government, to actively move to safeguard the interests of the minorities,” he said.
Nariman, a distinguished constitutional jurist and senior advocate of the Supreme Court since 1971, said recent instances of religious tensions show that the tolerant Hindu faith is changing its face.
“Traditionally Hinduism has been the most tolerant of all Indian faiths. But recurrent instances of religious tension fanned by fanaticism and hate-speech has shown that the Hindu tradition of tolerance is showing signs of strain,” he contended.
“…And let me say this frankly – my apprehension is that Hinduism is somehow changing its benign face because, and only because it is believed and proudly proclaimed by a few (and not contradicted by those at the top) that it is because of their faith and belief that Hindus have been now put in the driving seat of governance,” said the eminent advocate.
He added that the commission should invoke provisions of law to protect the interest of minorities.
“…the main task of the commission is ‘protecting the interests of minorities’. And how does one protect the interest of minorities who are on a daily basis lampooned and ridiculed or spoken against in derogatory language? The answer is by invoking the provisions of enacted law – law enacted in the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code,” he said.
“Otherwise the commission is not fulfilling its main task which is the protection of the interests of the minorities,” he added.