In the backdrop of a spate of controversial remarks by Hindutva hardliners and the debate over conversion, union minister Najma Heptulla today said the minorities have no reason to fear under the present government.
At an interaction with journalists at the Indian Women Press Corps, the Minority Affairs Minister was repeatedly asked questions related to controversial statements that have been made recently.
"These are the issues that the government is concerned with but I assure you that minorities need not worry at all. This government is going to protect them," Heptulla said.
Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech on August 15, where he had called for a moratorium on caste and communal violence, Heptulla said the Prime Minister's "assurance" is special as he is very clear in what he wants for the people.
"You must have seen the other statements in newspapers. I don't think my giving any assurance is going to make any difference. The thing is the Home Minister has said many times. A senior member of the cabinet Venkaiah Naidu has made assurances and also the Prime Minister," she said.
Heptulla added her party's manifesto talks about creating a tranquil atmosphere, while adding that it is the responsibility of the Home Ministry to ensure safety and security.
Asked to comment on recent controversial remarks made by BJP MP Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Heptulla said "I knew it was not in good taste, I told her."
On a question on the creation of an Equal Opportunity Commission, Heptulla said comments had been sought from various ministries on the matter.
On a question related to statement by BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj that Hindu women should bear at least four children, the Minority Affairs Minister responded in a lighter vein saying that "when I meet Sakshi Maharaj, I ll ask him."
She was asked about the demand for bringing an anti- conversion law, which even senior BJP leaders have talked about. The thing is that there are already so many laws, Heptulla said and added if there is a consensus and more laws are needed, it is upto the lawmakers.