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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Konkani becoming minority education medium

The National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities, which was on two-day tour of the state, has concluded that the state language, Konkani, was becoming a minority language, as education through the language is declining.

Disclosing this to reporters this evening, Dr Tahir Mahmood, a member of the commission said that the conclusion was drawn after various representatives made reference to the issue. He also said that it was brought to the knowledge of the commission that many people preferred to educate their children in English.

The commission met the Chief Minister, cabinet ministers, members of non-government organisations, representatives of various minority committees and government officials to study the measures adopted by the government to implement various schemes aimed at the upliftment of religious and linguistic minorities.

Dr Mahmood also told reporters that the representatives of Christian community told the commission about the problems they had faced due to insistence of the authorities on minority status certificate before issuing them permission to open school.

Disclosing that the insistence on the minority status certificate was not necessary as any community identified as minority in any state enjoyed privileges enshrined in Constitution, he went on to add that perhaps this was a tactic for denying right to the minority community. The Christians did not have other major grievances, he added.

With regards to the Muslims, he said that major complaint from the representatives of the community was the shortage of teachers in Urdu medium schools. He said that the issue was raised with the government which has promised immediate action in the matter. Representatives of Jain community also met the commission.

Dr Mahmood said that the commission has concluded that the government efforts for upliftment of minorities were appreciable and that the poverty level was very low. The grievances and findings of the commission have been communicated to the state government, he added.

He also informed that the commission has visited all but four states (Uttar Pradesh, Nagaland, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh) and an Union territory (Lakshadweep) as part of its mandate to identification minorities among socially and economically backward classes, implementation of various schemes towards them and whether there was need for changes for the same.

The chairman of the commission, Mr Justice (retired) Ranganath Misra, member secretary, Ms Asha Das (IAS), and Dr Anil Wilson (member) were also present during the press briefing.

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