Minorities and people from the Scheduled Castes in Madhya Pradesh have no one to address their grievances. The State Government’s lack of commitment to solving their problems is apparent from the fact that the State Minority Commission and the Scheduled Castes Commission (SCC) do not even have a chairperson.
While the ruling BJP expressed deep concern and commitment to these sections in Wednesday’s much publicized meeting of its “alpasankhyak morcha” (minority front), their efficiency is being seriously questioned in the absence of a chairperson. BJP veteran Shahnawaz Hussain, who presided over Wednesday’s meeting, said that Muslims and other minorities in the State were safe and flourishing under the BJP rule. “The BJP believes in providing collective leadership to all sections of the society, unlike the Congress, which has always had a minority appeasement propaganda,” said Mr. Hussain.
However, this verbal commitment has not translated into practice. The State MC has been without a chairperson since October 23, 2008, while the SCC has not had a chairperson since October 17, 2008.
“We have written to the chief secretary and the government about this issue, but there hasn’t been any convincing response,” says State Minority Commission Secretary U. M. Khatani.
Former MC Chairperson Ebrahim Qureshi, who chaired the Commission for four successive tenures, says that according to the State Minority Commission Act, 1996, it is mandatory for the Commission to have a chairperson.
“All decisions have to be taken by the chairperson,” he says. “The chairperson’s absence in the constitutional body leaves all decisions invalid. The scholarship scheme announced by the Central Government for minorities has failed to make any impact in the State due to commissioner level corruption in Minority Affairs Department”
“The chairperson has to table reports, preside over meetings, take decisions, do all the paperwork and report to the government about the progress made, without which there is hardly any relevance of the Commission,” says State SCC Secretary O.P. Gupta.