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Monday, March 26, 2012

Minority panel has turned proactive: Habibullah

Dehradun March 26
The National Commission for Minorities may be a quasi judicial body, but recently due to its intervention in the Mecca Medina mosque blast case, relief to 22 innocent members of the minority community had been provided. They were demanding compensation for being wrongly accused in the blast case in Andhra Pradesh.
“Though the court had thrown out cases of 22 persons, after the intervention of the National Minorities Commission, the Government of Andhra Pradesh was asked to pay a compensation of Rs 3 lakh each to them,” said Wajahat Habibullah, chairman of the Minorities Commission who was in Dehradun today to meet the Gujjars living in Rajaji National Park.
Speaking with the Tribune, Habibullah said this was one of the proactive steps taken by the commission recently. “They were given compensation and the commission directed the Andhra Pradesh Government to issue character certificates to around 74 youth who were illegally detained or picked up by the police in the course of undertaking investigation in the mosque case,” apprised Wajahat Habibullah who was also the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC).
He said the character certificates giving clean chit to the youth could be useful during the course of interviews, in case they applied for various jobs in private firms.
Similar activism by the Minorities Commission in the case pertaining to Niaz Bibi and Baan Mia, the victims of Gujarat riots who were demanding proper rehabilitation, is also being shown by the National Commission for Minorities.
“In this case, neither courts, the government nor the Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) had managed to provide succor to the victims. They were demanding return to their village in order to lead a life of dignity and respect. The case is under investigation and we will be holding a hearing soon,” said Habibullah.
Similarly, the commission has also taken cognizance of the poor implementation of the scholarship scheme for the students of the minority community in Gujarat. “We have sought time with Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who has agreed a meeting on March 30, stressed Habibullah.
Further, the Chairman said in order to make the police minorities community-sensitive, the commission has recommended setting up of minority cells at the office of the Director General (Police). “More often, it is the police that is left wanting while handling riot cases. Much can be done if the police is sensitive and defuses the situation before it escalates,” stressed Habibullah. 

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