Bangladesh Education Minister Dipu Moni on Saturday called for the protection of minorities in India during an event in Bengaluru.
Moni made the remarks during a session titled “India@2047” at the India Ideas Conclave, organised by the India Foundation – a think-tank associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, according to The Indian Express.
“For India to emerge as one of the respected global powers, it has to realise the dreams of the founding fathers as enunciated in the Constitution,” Moni said during the event. “Protecting and guaranteeing fundamental rights of citizens can set the stage for India to unleash the potential of its citizens, in particular people belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, OBCs [Other Backward Classes] and women from all sections of the society.”
Moni said that a social stratification, as unique as India’s, not only deprives the weaker sections but also allows room for divisive policies and approaches.
“Restoration of their [weaker sections] dignity and saving them from exploitation may allow them to emerge as a new force in the society and become equal partners in advancement,” Moni remarked.
The Bangladeshi leader added that an “unbiased application” of the provisions of the Constitution related to religious freedom and affairs can strengthen communal harmony and sustain peace.
“In the same manner, protection of the interest of minorities having a distinct language or culture in any part of Indian territory can save them from the influences of the majority of the concerned area and help avoid tension and sectarian violence,” she said. “And these are applicable to all our countries.”
She added: “As India marches forward to her existence of 100 years, she will be expected to devise a comprehensive construct adequately reflecting all aspirations that the framers of the Indian Constitution espoused.”
Her comments came after group of former civil servants, under the banner of Constitutional Conduct Group, in an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month had said that anti-conversion laws, ban on beef, demolition drives, and uniform dress in educational institutions are being used to “strike fear” among members of the minority communities in India.
The letter was signed by 108 former civil servants, including Harsh Mander, Najeeb Jung, Julio Ribeiro, AS Dulat, KP Fabian, Meena Gupta and Tirlochan Singh.
“We are witnessing a frenzy of hate-filled destruction in the country where at the sacrificial altar are not just Muslims and members of the other minority communities but the Constitution itself,” the signatories had said.
However, another group of former judges and bureaucrats had alleged that the exercise by their counterparts was “anti-Modi” and was only meant to grab international attention.