New Delhi: Noted jurist Fali S Nariman Friday accused the Narendra Modi government of not doing anything to stop the daily tirade and "hate-speech" of some people against Muslims and urged National Commission for Minorities (NCM) to take action on its own.
Delivering the seventh annual NCM lecture, Nariman said it is believed and proudly proclaimed by a few and not contradicted by those "at the top" that it is because of their faith and belief that "Hindus have now been put in the driving seat of governance".
"We have been hearing... Almost on a daily basis the tirade by one or more individuals or groups against one or another section of citizens who belong to a religious minority. The criticism has been the majority government at the Centre has done nothing to stop this tirade. I agree," Nariman said.
Any government or political party, he said, will do or not do whatever it considers "politically expedient to advance its political future" but nothing stops the NCM from issuing press statement or filing criminal complaint against culprits to stop "all these loose talk of hate speech".
Those who indulge in hate speech must be prevented by court processes initiated at the instance of the commission because that is the body that represents minorities in India.
Whoever indulges in such hate speech or vilification, they must be proceeded against and the proceeding must be widely publicised, he said, adding that only then the confidence of the minorities in the NCM will get restored.
Minorities Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla later defended the BJP government, saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi had told her that Muslims were "deprived" of their basic rights all these years and he wanted her to fulfil the promises BJP made to minorities in its manifesto.
She said Modi believed in "inclusive development" and that there will be no discrimination against anyone on grounds of religion, language or caste.
Speaking on "Minorities at cross-roads: Comments on judicial pronouncements", Nariman lamented that Hindu tradition of tolerance is showing "signs of strains" and he nursed apprehensions that Hinduism is somehow changing its benign face.
Nariman, however, praised Modi for his "singlehandedness" in dealing Jammu and Kashmir floods.
Farida Abdulla Khan, NCM member, later agreed with Nariman's concerns, saying several instances recently have caused apprehensions among minorities.