The newly appointed Minority Affairs Minister NajmaHeptullaon her first day at office said Muslims were too many to be called a minority. She added that ” it is the Parsis who need special attention, for they are a “minuscule minority”.
It is to be noted that Muslims constitute 13 percent of the Indian population whereas the Paris are less than 0.7 percent according to the 2001 census. The latest 2011 census did not conduct a survey on religiousminorities so the present data of the religious minorities are not available. But the Sachar Commission report and the RanganathMisra Commission recommendations together observe that the ‘condition of Muslims in the country were worse than the scheduled castes” and ‘need immediate attention”.
The minority affairs minister has also observed that she has to first consult the Prime Minister NarendraModi on whether to continue with the ‘Prime Minsiter’s 15 point programme for minorities started during the 80’s under the Indira Gandhi government. Although the Minority Affairs ministry was started during the UPA rule for better thrust in the development schemes for minorities primarily the Muslims as they constitute the largest community of minority population of the country.
Also talking about the issue of Muslim reservation in jobs, she has said “there was no provision in the Constitution for religion-based reservation” and the matter was in the Supreme Court. But she failed to clarify if matters do not change for good for the religious minorities of the country what would be the plan to include them in the development process.
She added that religious minorities were like having six children in a family where the weakest needed the most support. And Parsis remain the weakest amongst all minorities in the country. She said ‘Muslims were too many to be called minority, it’s Parsis who needed special attention’ and “that one needs to take care of their survival”. Muslims really are too large in number to be called a minority community,” the minister seems to have told the reporters on her first day at office.
Citing her example that she could ride this far without reservation being a Muslim she added that what needs to be done was level playing for all communities for their betterment. It needs to be added here that NajmaHeptulla happens to be the grand-niece of prominent freedom fighter MaulanaAbulKalam Azad and had been an active member of Congress party until 2004 when she joined the BJP.