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Najma rubbishes allegations of rise in attacks on minorities

Union Minorities Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla today dismissed allegations that attacks on minorities have increased since NDA came to power even as she stopped short of criticising the Muslim Personal Law Board over its controversial ‘deen aur dastur’ bachao (save religion and constitution) campaign.

“Attacks have not increased. No communal riots have taken place,” she told reporters here when asked about the allegations of some minority groups that attacks on minorities have risen after the NDA assumed office.

When told that the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has started a campaign to “save religion and save Constitution” over the alleged rise in such attacks, she said the Board can do its work while the government would do its own.

“They (Board) can do what they want to do. We don’t do anything secretly. We give it in writing and show it you (media) that we have done this. I will be happy if Personal Law Board does something that is good for Muslims,” she said.

Replying to a query, Heptulla said the Waqf Bill has been just received from a parliamentary committee (which looked into it) and it would be introduced in Parliament soon.

The previous government had referred the Bill, meant for protection of Waqf properties, to the committee, she said.

Observing that six lakh acres of Waqf land is there in the country, she said the minority development programmes can be completed if that land is developed. Efforts were on in that direction.

Noting that the Sachar committee had estimated that an annual income of Rs 12,000 crore would accrue if the Waqf property is developed, she said the backwardness can be removed if the estimated income is realised.

She said the government has signed area-specific MoUs or agreements in some states for welfare of minorities. An MoU was signed in Tamil Nadu with leading actor Kamal Haasan’s institution.