False cases are foisted on members of minority community
Dr Abid Rasool Khan, Chairman of the AP Minorities Commission, is a prominent educationist and philanthropist. He is the grandson of Ghulam Rasool...
Dr Abid Rasool Khan, Chairman of the AP Minorities Commission, is a prominent educationist and philanthropist. He is the grandson of Ghulam Rasool Khan, Collector in the then Hyderabad Government and son of Abdul Mannan Khan, eminent journalist of Hyderabad. Dr Abid Rasool Khan was a member of the Executive Council, Osmania University. He was Chairman of a committee appointed for protection of the lands belonging to Osmania University. He has served as a member of State Hajj Committee appointed by the Government of Andhra Pradesh. Dr Rasool Khan is also the Chairman of Minorities Empowerment Forum, an NGO working for uplift and social empowerment of minorities with a membership of over 30,000. He is also secretary of the Council for Wildlife Conservation, Dr Abid Rasool Khan talks about his task ahead to LATA JAIN
Who are minorities? Is there a need for a commission?
A more meaningful conception of minority status would include sections of people who, on account of their non-dominant position in the country as a whole (not a specific State), and because of their religion, language, caste or gender, are targets of discrimination and therefore deserving of special consideration. The statistical approach disregards the crucial qualitative condition of vulnerability and disadvantage. This would be in step with the slew of policies and measures currently under consideration to address the economic, social, and educational deprivation that minorities experience."
Commonly cited characteristics that make groups distinctive and expose them to discrimination include religion, language, culture, and gender. There is also a unanimous opinion that the term ‘minority’ refers to a power relationship. In this, the size of a group may bear some relation to the degree of power it wields, but presumably because other factors are also involved in the equation, the relationship of group size is not all that significant. In Andhra Pradesh Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Parsis, Sikhs and recently Jains have been added.
There is need for such a Commission, but that has to deliver for the people it has been created. Minorities Commission as a non-statutory body was set up in 1978.The commission has no political interest but there is a need to safeguard the interest of those who are not given the same facilities as the other groups.
What are the powers of the commission?
As enunciated in Section 12 of the NCMEI Act, 2004,the Commission enjoys the following powers:
If any dispute arises between a minority educational institution and a University relating to its affiliation to such University, the decision of the Commission thereon shall be final. The Commission shall, for the purposes of discharging its functions under this Act, have all the powers of a civil court trying a suit Every proceeding before the Commission shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of sections 193 and 228, and for the purposes of section 196, of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) The Commission is also vested with the powers of appeal against order of competent authority (Section 12A) to decide on minority status of educational institutions (Section 12B) power to cancel the status granted (Section 12C), and to investigate matters relating to deprivation of educational rights of minorities (Section 12D). The Commission has also powers for calling for information from the Central Government or any State Government or any other authority or any organization subordinate thereto, while enquiring into complaints, violation or deprivation of educational rights of minorities (Section 12E).
As soon as you took over as the Chairman you called a meeting of bankers and financial institutions. Did it help the minorities?
After taking over as the chairman we called for a meeting of all the nationalised banks. The bankers promised to help these minorities. They agreed to provide 5% loan and not 15%. They also said that as per the rules and regulation of Reserve Bank of India, students could open their saving banks accounts with zero balance but some banks violate this rule. The bankers promised that they would ensure that such complaints do not occur. The bankers informed the Chairman that a loan up to Rs15,000 could be sanctioned to Minorities without any surety. In the same manner, students can get loan up to Rs 4 lakh without any guarantee. Minorities do not know about these facilities. They also informed that when Minorities Finance Corporation provides Margin money as school loans to Minorities, the banks cannot refuse the remaining money of the loan. If the loan is Rs 4-7 lakh, the guarantee of 2 persons is sufficient. If the loan exceeds Rs 7 lakh, then it becomes necessary to provide collateral security of property. We received complaints against two bankers for not helping the minorities and we are enquiring into the same and they will have to face the legal consequences if proved true.
Minority’s commission was not functioning for three years. After a long gap it has come to existence. What are the development schemes you have taken up?
After an advocate filed a PIL the Commission has come into existence after a long gap. We do not have funds. We don’t have finances. We don’t have funds even to hold a seminar. We have to ask for a grant even to organize a seminar. This handicaps the Commission to sensitizing minorities and other stakeholders. There was a sanction of Rs 1024 crore for minorities in 2013 budget. As of now I am spending from my pocket as no budget has been allocated so far to the Commission. We have received more than 400 applications and several complaints of discrimination and harassment. In Warangal 62 girls were given orders for teachers jobs two years back. Their certificates were also taken but appointments were not given.”I passed a judgment to pay them salaries for two years.”
I have also taken an initiative for a Christian Protection Bill. Recently I had been to the Orphanage Aneesa were the warden was ill-treating the children. One boy complained that he was being beaten by the warden. Girls after the age of 15years were asked to leave without a proper shelter so they took to vices. In Daru Shafa there is a hostel for the blind and the boys are not given food. Reason, they have no funds. I am taking up these issues on a war footing. In Nalgonda a minor girl was raped and police did not do a proper investigation. We demanded for an inquiry by CBCID.A girl from a minority community was discriminated and not given a job, After proper inquiry we demanded that the girl be given the job.
Would you say that false cases are foisted on people from the minority community?
Both the police and the media are unable to exercise any restraint. As news of a terror incident breaks out, they immediately start naming people and organizations with distinctly Muslim names, for instance Jamaat. This has led to a great sense of threat and insecurity among young people in the Muslim community. We have held seminars at national level not to come to conclusions till a proper investigation is completed. There have been several instances where media has portrayed an individual as guilty based on police reports and later there was no evidence found against the individual.
Your education? Political career? Family and hobbies?
I did my schooling from Hyderabad Public School, and degree from Railway Degree College and Nizam College. I was recently honoured with a doctorate by the Osmania University. I was appointed as joint Secretary of Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee by the late Rajiv Gandhi in 1990.From here my political career started. In 1991 I was in charge of Adilabad and Mahboobnagar district and was elected PCC member in 1992. In 2006 I was appointed as Member, Executive Council of Osmania University by the Governor of Andhra Pradesh. In 2012, I became the general secretary and spokesperson of the Congress. I am fond of reading and have travelled extensively. I am fond of wild life and likes adventure. My wife Kauser Khan is a home maker. We have three sons and a daughter.