National Commission for Minorities frowns at harassment of minority educational institutions
Officials of minority-run educational institutions in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, MP and Odisha live in fear because they refuse to heed requests for admission in their institutes from local authoritites
NEW DELHI: Officials of minority-run educational institutions in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha live in fear because they refuse to heed requests for admission in their institutes from local authorities.
The officials are “harassed” and often booked under “false” charges, according to the 2016-2017 annual report of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), that is expected to be tabled in Parliament soon.
Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh are BJP-ruled, while the Biju Janata Dal is in power in Odisha, which has a poor track record of safety of minorities, particularly Christians. In 1999, Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons were burnt to death on January 23, 1999, by the Bajrang Dal in Manoharpur village in Odisha.
The commission urged the state governments to take “immediate action” saying violation of the rights of minorities was totally unacceptable. “Mostly, these are national and at times international organisations, and harassing them in this manner affects the reputation of the state as well as that of the government of India. The NCM regularly receives representations complaining of undue interference and harassment by government agencies in the day-to-day functioning of minority run educational institutions,” the report said.
Article 29 and 30 of the Constitution gives minority communities the fundamental right to preserve their culture and to establish educational institutions. Minority-run educational institutions are supposed to be free of government interference.
The NCM, headed by Syed Ghayorul Hasan Rizvi, also highlighted other problems. “Often minority rights are violated with regard to selection of teachers, selection committee and their appointments. The MP government and others in the Hindi heartland need to take immediate action in this regard,” the NCM said.
The NCM report comes in the backdrop of increasing harassment and attacks against minority institutions, particularly Madhya Pradesh. In December 2017, a group of Catholic carol singers was attacked allegedly by right wing groups in Satna district.
Instead of the acting against the Bajrang Dal activists, police booked six people, including M George, the head of a Christian educational institution. George was subsequently arrested.
In January this year, right wing outfit Vishwa Sanatan Sangathan tried to perform Bharat Mata ki Arti at St Mary College in Vidisha even after the state government assured the Madhya Pradesh High Court it would provide security to the college. (With inputs from Anuraag Singh in Bhopal)