NCM Annual Conference of State Minorities Commissions & NGOs

March 21, 2012 by  
Filed under National, newsletter-india

Shri. Wajahat Habibullah, the NCM Chairman
Shri. Wajahat Habibullah, the NCM Chairman

New Delhi, March 19, 2012: The National Commission for Minorities in India has very successfully organized its Annual Conference of Minorities Commissions in the country on 13th and 14th of March at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi. The theme of the conference was “Police and Minorities.” Distinguished persons from the police, both the serving and the retired ones, were the resource people for the conference. Concerned State officials and important NGOs dealing more specifically with minority issues in the country, were also invited to participate and share their views and know-how in order to evolve a body of solutions and suggestions to be placed before the Union Government for implementation for the over-all welfare of the religious minorities in the country.

The two day conference was divided into six parts, beginning with inauguration and followed by the 4 sessions of presentations, interactions and discussions, and ending with a valedictory function. Nearly two hundred participants – NCM Members and its officials, State Minorities Commissions Chairmen and Members, State Government Officials, NGOs, resource personnel and Distinguished persons from different parts of the country, took part in the two-day deliberations of the conference. The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), was represented by three delegates – Bishop S.V. Sampath Kumar, GCIC Spiritual Director; Prof. John B. Kutinha, GCIC Director for Public Affairs; and Mr. Regi Abraham, GCIC Chief Executive in charge of its headquarters situated in Bangalore. While Bishop Sampath Kumar made a presentation in respect of the problems faced by Christians in the country and more specifically in Karnataka during the last 5 years, Prof. Kutinha and Mr. Regi, interacted and put forth their views very emphatically with regard to the failure on the part of the police officials in giving necessary protection against the systematically planned attacks on Christians by the various Sangh Parivar outfits in different parts of the country.

The conference was inaugurated by the well-known police official of yester years, Director of the CBI and also the National Security Adviser and presently serving as the Governor of West Bengal, His Excellency M.K.Narayanan, with a moving appeal to all the citizens of India to think of all that can bring us together rather than divide us, and be able to live in harmony and peace so that this nation can march ahead and make a mark in the ever changing world of today. Shri. Salman Khurshid, Hon’ble Minister of Minority Affairs and Law and Justice, and Shri. Vincent H. Pala, Hon’ble Minister of State, Ministry of Minority Affairs and Water Resources, the two Chief Guests, also addressed the Conference wishing the conference all the success and hoping for very fruitful deliberations. Earlier, Shri. Wajahat Habibullah, the NCM Chairman, welcomed the gathering, and Smt. Syeda Imam, a Member of the NCM, proposed a vote of thanks.

The first session on the specific subject of “Police Investigation into Minority related Incidents”- (Where are we – and why are we here?), was chaired by Dr. H.T. Sangliana, Vice Chairman of the NCM, and a key-note address by Shri.Ved Marwah, a retired IPS Officer and former Governor of Manipur and Jharkhand. Fr. Anand Muttangal from Madhya Pradesh made a presentation on behalf of the CBCI on the specific problems faced by Christians in M.P. This was followed by the presentations of Shri. Intaj Ali Shah, Chairman of West Bengal Minorities Commission and Shri. Liyaqat Ali, Chairman of UP State Minorities Commission. Shri. V. N. Rai, Director of SVP National Police Academy, and Shri. Amar Pandey, Director of Karnataka Police Academy, the presently serving police officials who acted as panelists of the first session, also placed their view points on the subject before the audience.

The second session, on “Police Sensitization on Minority Rights” – (Where do we wish to be?), was chaired by Shri. Vinod Sharma, a Member of the NCM, and presentations were made by Lt. Gen. Kartar Singh Gill, Secretary General of International Sikh Federation; Shri. Safdar H. Khan, Chairman of Delhi Minorities Commission; and Bishop S.V. Sampath Kumar of GCIC. The panelists for the second session consisted of Ms. Maja Daruwala, Director of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, and Shri. A.K. Mathur, Director of N.E. Police Academy.

The third session on “Strategy to Achieve these Objectives” – (How do we get there? suggestions/ways, was chaired by Shri. Keki N. Daruwalla, a Member of the NCM. Presentations were made by Ms. Shabnam Hashmi, ANHAD; Shri. Robin R. David of Christian Legal Association; Shri. Liaqat Ali Khan, Chairman of Rajasthan Wakf Board. The panelist was Shri. B.L. Vohra, Ex-DGP of Tripura.

The fourth session on “Suggestions for the Ways Forward” (How do we get there?), was chaired by the NCM Chairman, Shri. Wajahat Habibullah. A number of presentations were made by the State Minorities Commissions and the NGOs from different parts of the country in which the bias of the police and their connivance against the minorities was repeatedly touched upon and placed before the august house in very clear terms by people hailing from different parts of the country belonging to the two main minority communities like the Christians and the Muslims. At the end of each of the four sessions, sufficient time was allotted for questions and answers and which was appropriately utilized by the participants making very logical and practical suggestions.

The valedictory function of the conference was addressed by the Chief Guest, the legendary former police official, Shri. J.F. Ribeiro, who had served as the DGP of Punjab during the most crucial period in that state and also in Maharashtra where he was able to bring about peace and communal harmony time and again, during the numberless communal riots which the city of Bombay had the misfortune of witnessing. Mr. Ribeiro narrated anecdotes after anecdotes in the most fitting manner driving home the very crucial message that a policeman by virtue of being in that very position must rise above prejudices of caste, creed and religion as he has to deal at every level of the life of a citizen. He also struck a very optimistic note saying that things would resolve themselves in this country in the course of time if only we continued to dedicate our services as responsible citizens getting actively involved in the local communal disputes of any nature and try to resolve them impartially to the satisfaction of all communities.

Earlier, the Chairman of the NCM, who introduced the Chief Guest and also summarized the deliberations and findings of the two day conference, assured the participants that the NCM would recommend to the Union Government all the findings of the conference for immediate implementation, and would also make all efforts to make the state minorities commissions equally strong and relevant to the minorities in the country. Shri. Keki N. Daruwalla proposed a vote of thanks, specially thanking all the delegates representing the Minorities commissions and the NGOs, traveling long distances from different parts of the country.

– gcic

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