A national level anti-conversion law could be brought if all political parties agree to it, Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said on Friday. “If everybody is ready and if all political parties are ready, then anti-conversion law should be passed. Many states have an anti-conversion law. Conversion is not a new issue. It’s an old issue. There is no problem in bringing a law against forceful conversion, but all political parties and people should agree to it,” he told reporters.He was speaking on the need of new anti-conversion law on the sidelines of the 17th Foundation Day function of the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) in Hyderabad. Replying to a query that the Prime Minister was “silent about different issues”, he said performance of the government is what matters and not comments of different people.”This country runs on law, not on the basis of a stick. Law and order is state subject and the central government or Prime Minister cannot send anyone to jail. Secondly, you judge us on the basis of our performance and what we are saying. What some people are saying outside that is not important,” Naqvi said.
“We are committed to empowering the socio-economic and educational empowerment of the minorities. We will not let any negative thing to dominate our development agenda. We will not let development agenda be disturbed. Our commitment is for development through good governance. We will fulfil that,” he said.
The minister said the government would like to implement the 15-point programme for minorities’ welfare effectively. “The Prime Minister’s 15-point programme is very good.It should be implemented properly. It should be free from power brokers. Unfortunately, most schemes meant for socio-economic and educational empowerment are hijacked by power brokers. It is a good thing that power brokers have been eliminated. It is good governance now and we are committed to honest implementation of the 15-point programme as well,” he said.Asked about MIM president Asaduddin Owaisi’s comments that real “home coming” would be returning to Islam, he said, “I think there is a competition on who is the biggest champion of communalism. We cannot do anything about it. This type of competitive communalism is not in the interest of the country. People of the country will reject such narrowmindedness”.Speaking at the function earlier, Naqvi said MANUU could play an important role in the government’s “mission empowerment” for minorities. He also stressed the need to open more educational institutions, especially those which could provide vocational education in minority–dominated population clusters.Referring to MANUU’s ITIs and polytechnics, he suggested that the university could take a lead in this direction.
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