Community leaders say it’s because of loss of faith in the functioning of the statutory body, though official gives credit to decrease in cases of discrimination against minorities
Waquar Hasan | Clarion India
NEW DELHI – Crimes against minorities, especially Muslims, are on the increase day in and day out but, strangely, data with the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) shows a decrease in the number of complaints lodged with the commission since 2014 when the Narendra Modi-led government was formed at the Centre.
The NCM uploaded the number of complaints filed with it only in the past 10 years. Data shows NCM had registered 2,268 complaints in 2009-10, 2378 in 2010-11, 2439 in 2011-12, 2127 in 2012-13 and 2,638 in 2013-14. On the other hand, 1,995 complaints were filed in 2014-15, 1,974 in 2015-16, 1,647 in 2016-17, 1,447 in 2017-18 and 1,871 in 2018-19. In 2019-20, 1,672 complaints have been filed so far.
NCM is a statutory body formed under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992, to safeguard and protect the interests of minorities provided in the Constitution and laws enacted by Parliament and state legislatures. It recognises six communities as minorities–Muslims (14.2% of total population), Christians (2.3%), Sikhs (1.7 %), Buddhists (0.7%) and Jains (0.4 %).
NCM also categorised the complaints community-wise. In 2018-19, out of 1,871 complaints, 1,344 complaints related to Muslims, 136 to Christians, 161 to Sikhs, 46 to Buddhists, 3 to Parsis, 63 to Jains besides 118 others. In 2019-20, out of 1,672 complaints, 1,233 related to Muslims, 129 to Christians, 106 to Sikhs, 44 to Buddhists, 5 to Parsis besides 104 others.
Reacting to the NCM data about the decrease in number of the complaints, Aatif Rasheed, vice-chairperson of NCM, claimed that there were fewer complaints because there was a decrease in the number of the untoward incidents against the minorities.
“There is a decrease in cases of discrimination against minorities. Therefore, complaints are not being filed,” Rasheed told Clarion India, rejecting the allegations that complaints were decreasing because NCM is not accepting the complaints. “Whoever files a complaint, we do inquire into that properly. We work on it properly. And we resolve it properly,” he said.
However, Wajahat Habibullah, who was the chairperson of NCM during 2011-14, rejected the inference that there had been fewer incidents against minorities during these periods, and, therefore, there were fewer complaints.
He said that he could not explain the exact reasons behind this decrease in number of complaints but “One reason could be that people earlier had hoped that when they would approach the commission, someone would be there to listen to their woes. Perhaps, now people are now not being heard,” said Habibullah.
Former chairman of the Delhi Minorities Commission Zafarul Islam Khan said that the data on the website was “misleading and misguiding” because it showed just number of the complaints but gave no details about the complaints.
“This is wrong data. They should upload the details of all the complaints. They should not give just numbers of the complaints. What can we know from just numbers? I as a chairman of the Delhi Minorities Commission had filed complaints. They don’t do anything. Unless we know which complaints they have taken up or which ones they have not, how can we hold them accountable and see which complaints they have taken up and which one they left out?” asked Khan.
He said it was wrong to say that since there were fewer incidents against minorities, there was a decrease in the number of complaints.
“A lot of incidents are happening which we are seeing from our own eyes. There has been a rise in the incidents. We are witnessing lynchings, murders and destruction of houses and mosques. The fact of the matter is that people have no faith in NCM. That’s why they are not going to the minority commission.”
NCM is mandated to have seven members, including a chairperson and vice-chairperson, with a member each from the Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Parsi and Jain communities. But currently, there is only one person (Vice Chairperson) in the panel. Six posts of the panel, including chairman, are lying vacant.