Aligarh: Noted jurist and vice-chancellor of NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, Faizan Mustafa on Thursday voiced "grave concern" at the rising incidents of "minority bashing" after the NDA government assumed office earlier this year.
Mustafa launched a scathing attack on the NDA government saying "ever since the BJP-led NDA came to power at the Centre the worst fears of the minorities are coming true".
He was delivering a paper at a national seminar on "Inclusive Development of Minority Community in India", organised by the Department of Commerce of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).
The nation as a whole can no longer afford to ignore the alarming trends manifested in the "statements of senior RSS leaders and the fact that those involved in minority bashing are being awarded with ministerial berths, coupled with the alarming saffronisation of education," he said.
"Minority rights are not some mercy or favours shown to Muslims by the majority community. There are sound jurisprudential reasons for these rights. These rights are in national interest and are based on constitutional guarantees," Mustafa said.
Recalling first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's defence of minority rights in a democratic country, Mustafa said, "History has demonstrated that there can be no stable equilibrium in any country so long as an attempt is made to crush a minority or force it to conform to the ways of the majority."
Mustafa urged the BJP to have a "relook at its own policies towards minorities and show the whole world that it is committed to pluralism."
He also criticised Union Minister for Minority Affairs Najma Heptullah, saying "after she became a minister, she has initiated an unnecessary debate on the very term of minorities in India."
"Can a group which constitutes just 15 per cent of the population not be entitled to protection under minority rights?" he asked, and said "The Supreme Court of India has consistently maintained that minorities are to be defined on the basis of numerical inferiority and there can be no deviation from this principle."