The Central government on Friday promised strict action against those involved in incidents of lynching of the Muslims and Dalits in the country, but also asked the opposition parties to refrain from giving "criminal cases communal colours"."The criminal incidents cannot be tolerated by any government. Criminals are criminals. But when the opposition tries to put communal colours on criminal cases, they end up supporting the motives of the criminals indirectly," Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said at the India Today conclave East here.Claiming that the BJP led central government has successfully brought the minorities into mainstream development, he said the present regime was committed to ushering in "development without appeasement" for the minority communities.Naqvi said unlike the previous Congress regime that focused on appeasement of the minority communities, the present NDA dispensation has given top priority to "development with dignity for those communities by addressing issues like illiteracy and unemployment" since it came to power in 2014."We have made them realise that their development should take place at the same pace with the rest of the nation without any discrimination. The minorities should be part of mainstream development in the nation.
We are satisfied with the progress we have made so far," he claimed.Taking a swipe at the Congress and other opposition parties for accusing the present government of squeezing the space for minorities, Naqvi said the NDA has taken significant steps for minority education and the initiatives are yielding positive results."The Narendra Modi government started free IAS coaching for the minorities. and in 2016, as many as 112 members of the minority community qualified for the IAS including 52 Muslims. This is the highest since India's independence," the minister said.Raghav Chandra, the Secretary of National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, said the government should work towards the better implementation of the Forest Rights Act.He also said the implementation of the fifth schedule of the Indian Constitution that gives the Governors power in scheduled areas and Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 or PESA is necessary for the welfare of scheduled tribes."The Governor has complete powers in the scheduled areas to create laws that would benefit the tribes and help protect and improve them. This needs to be taken up by the Governors in a more forceful manner. Also the implementation of PESA Act is limited to only Maharashtra, it should be spread to other states," he added.