Benefits elude minorities, says RTI activist

Inspired by Arvind Kejriwal’s recent dharna outside the Rail Bhavan, Delhi resident Faheem Baig staged a dramatic protest, to catch the Prime Minister’s attention, during the launch of the National Waqf Development Corporation here on Wednesday.

Manmohan Singh had just finished his address when Mr. Baig got up and said government schemes for religious minorities had never reached the beneficiaries.

The Unani practitioner and Right-to-Information activist was immediately dragged out by policemen. But his protest had an immediate impact, with the PMO promising to look into the issues he raised.

“PM asks Minority Affairs Minister to meet the Vigyan Bhavan petitioner who spoke following his speech; hear his views and consider petition,” the PM’s twitter handle tweeted after the episode.

Mr. Baig said that instead of launching new schemes the government should implement the existing ones. The money allocated to North-East Delhi, the only one in New Delhi of the 90 Minority Concentrated Districts across the country, did not reach the beneficiaries, he alleged.

Asked if he had taken a leaf out of the Delhi Chief Minister’s book, Mr. Baig said he liked Mr. Kejriwal and his way of staying connected with the people.

Mr. Baig had earlier written over a hundred letters to draw the government’s attention, but drew a blank. “Going by today’s experience, I think shouting worked for me much more than my writing 150 letters to the PMO.”

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