New Delhi: Justice Rajindar Sachar, who was the head of a committee which had looked into the plight of Muslims in the country, on Thursday said no real progress could be achieved if minorities were not included as equal stake holders in development.
The former judge of the Delhi High Court also expressed regret that political parties were projecting "one leader", but were placing no emphasis on programmes to uplift the masses of the country.
Speaking at the 8th Sumitra Chisti Memorial Lecture here, Sachar said, "Inclusive development in the country alone is the path to prosperity. It is an undeniable truth and needs to be irrevocably accepted by all in the country that minorities, Muslims and Christians, are not outsiders.
"They are an integral part of India. There can be no real progress which does not include minorities, Muslims and Christians as equal stake holders."
He said if minorities had any kind of grievance, it was the duty of the government to have a mechanism to address the issue.
"The minorities may feel there is discrimination against them in the matter of employment, housing, for obtaining loans from public or private sectors banks, or opportunities for good schooling. If minorities have these perceptions, law must provide an effective mechanism, which should examine their complaints and be able to give relief," he said.
Sachar sought to highlight that it is wrong to assume there is an inevitable conflict between the interest of majority and minority communities in the country.
"This is a flawed reasoning and assumption. Deprivation, poverty and discrimination may exist among all socio-religious categories. But the fact of belonging to a minority community has an in-built sensitivity to discrimination.
"This sensitivity is natural and may exist among religious
minorities in any country. Recognising this reality is not pandering to the minorities nor sniping at the majority. This recognition is only an acceptance of reality," he said.
Sachar noted that with elections "hovering over", the "so-called main parties" and also other state level parties were using the "One Leader Concept", but had not mentioned any agenda for the welfare of the people.
"All of them are projecting the One Leader Concept and therefore the whole effort is geared to religiously project the leader as some kind of supernatural phenomenon in the hope that he would come to power, and bask under his projection even if the so-called leader is bereft of any social philosophy for empowering the masses," he said.