Rights of Minorities and Problems of Minorities in India

Minority Rights and Problems Faced by them in India

Indian society is pluralistic in character from the religious and other points of view. People belonging to various religious communities has been living together in this country from many years. Though the majority of the people in this land are Hindus, people belonging to other religious communities such as Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and others are also living along with the Hindus having the rights and opportunities given by the constitution of India. 

The Hindus constitutes the majority while the rest of the religious communities come under what is known as religious minorities. The concept of minority in India it can be said that the term has not been properly defined anywhere in the Constitution of India. 

The recognition and protection rights under a legal Framework has two fold objectives.

Firstly, to prevent that from being oppressive against the minorities has in a democratic setup government is run by majority.

Secondly, to provide the minority a protective zone where by they can preserve their separate identity while contributing in national development and progress.

Rights of Minorities in Indian Constitution :

The Constitution of India ensures to all the people of the country "justice, social, economic and political equality". Indian constitution has adopted measures for the protection of the rights of the religious and ethnic minorities and of the socially and economically disadvantaged classes such as the schedule caste and Scheduled Tribes.

The Indian constitution enshrines various provisions for the protection of the rights and interests of the minorities.

Firstly, India declares herself a secular state. No particular religion is the religion of the overwhelming majority has been made the religion of the state.

Secondly, Article 29 give the religious and linguistic minorities right to establish and manage educational institutions of their own. The minorities in India have been given the unrestricted rights to promote and preserve their own culture anywhere in the country. Indeed is a country of diverse cultural groups and India is keen to preserve our cultural diversity. Thus for example, even though Hindi is made the official language of India, still the primary education in the schools everywhere is given in the mother tongue.

Thirdly, Article 29, expressly forbids discrimination on Grounds of Race, religion, caste, language in admission video to educational institutions run by the state or receiving aids from the state. This means that the doors of all educational institutions run by government or receiving funds from the state are open to all groups of Indians. Linguistic, religious or ethnic minority students cannot be denied admission to such educational institutions. 

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Problems of Minorities in India :

In spite of the provisions of the constitutional equality minorities in India, often experience some problems among with the following may be noted.

1. Problem of Providing Protection :

There is a huge need of security and protection often felt by the minorities of India. Specially in times of communal violence, caste conflicts, observance of festivals and religious functions on a mass scale, the minority people most of the time seek police protection. Government in power also finds it difficult to provide such a protection to all the members of the minorities. It is highly expensive also. As well as the state governments always been criticised for not providing proper protection to them.

For example --

(i) The Rajiv Gandhi government was severely criticized for its failure to give protection to the Sikh community in the Union Territory of Delhi on the eve of the communal violence that took place soon after The Assassination of Indira Gandhi in the year 1984.

(ii) Gujarat state government who was criticized for its inability to provide protection to the Muslim minorities in the recent communal violence that burst out.

(iii) The Government of Jammu Kashmir's inefficiency in providing adequate security to the Hindu and Sikh minorities in that state against the atrocities of Muslim extremists is also widely condemned

2. Problem of Communal Tensions and Riots :

Communal tensions and riots have been increasing since independence. Whenever the communal tensions and riots take place for whatever reason, minority interest get threatened, fears and anxieties become widespread. For that now it becomes a tough task for the government of India to restore the confidence in them.

3. Problem of Not Enough Representation in Civil Service and Politics :

Though the Constitution provides for equality and equal opportunities to all its citizens including the religious minorities, the biggest minority community, that is Muslim in particular have not availed themselves of these facilities. There is a feeling among them that their neglected. However such a feeling does not seem to exist among the other religious minority communities such as the Christians, Sikhs, Jains, for they seem to be economically and educationally better than the majority community.

4. Problem of Separatism :

The demands which are put forward by some of the religious communities in some parts are not acceptable to others. This situation created a gap between them and others. For example, the separatist tendency present among some Muslims extremists in Kashmir and their demand for the establishment of independent Kashmir is not acceptable to others.

5. Failure to Stick on Strictly to Secularism :

India has declared itself as a secular country. The very spirit of our constitution is a secular. Infact most of the political parties including the Muslim League claim themselves to be secular. But in actual practice no party is honest in its commitment to secularism, purely religious issues are often politicised by these parties. Similarly secular issues and purely law and order problems are given a religious colours. These parties are always waiting for an opportunity to politicalised communal issues and take political advantage out of it. Hence the acceptibility of these parties in their commitment to secularism is lost already. This has occured a feeling of insecurity in the minds of the minorities.

6. Introduction of Common Civil Code :

Another major hurdle that we find in the relation between the majority and minority is relating to the failure of governments which have assumed power so far in the introduction of a common Civil Code.

It is said that social equality is possible only when a common Civil Code is applicable throughout the country. Some communities particularly the Muslim oppose it. They argue that the imposition of a common Civil Code as it is opposed to the "Shariat" will take away their religious freedom. This issue has become controversial today. It has further widened the gap between the religious communities. 

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  1. nice article
    some suggestions- 1. give examples for all points mentioned like you did for 1st point
    2. solution for betterment not provided
    3. other side of the coin i.e. stigma among minorities though not major reason for deprivation but it would make article well balanced and wholesome


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