With minuscule population of Buddhists in India, a Buddhist to head Minority Affairs Ministry

In Kiren Rijiju, minority affairs ministry has for the first time got a Buddhist as its head. He will be helped by George Kurian, a Christian from Kerala and a surprise inclusion as he is not a member of either House of Parliament.

The ministry was led, even under BJP govts, by Muslims, the largest minority community. However, the pattern broke when Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi resigned a day before his term as Rajya Sabha member ended in July 2022 and women and child development minister Smriti Irani got additional charge of the ministry. Irani is a Hindu married to a Parsi, and had a Christian, John Barla, assisting her as minister of state.

The chairman of National Minorities Commission, Iqbal Singh Lalpura, is a Sikh and when he was appointed to the post, it marked a break from the pattern of the position mostly being helmed by Muslims.

The choice of Rijiju could have been prompted by NDA lacking a Muslim in its ranks in both Houses. It is not clear whether any ally would like to address the issue by getting a member from the community elected to RS. In 2014, BJP appointed RS MP Najma Heptulla as minority affairs minister. She resigned in July 2016 when she was appointed governor of Manipur. Naqvi, who had been MoS since 2014, was elevated to the post of minister and served till 2019. He was re-appointed as minister in the Modi govt’s second term till July 2022.

Abdul Rahman Antulay was appointed by UPA govt as the first minority affairs minister in Jan 2006. He was followed by Salman Khurshid (May 2009 to Oct 2012) and K Rahman Khan (Oct 2012 to May 2014).

Network KNT

Network Kashmir is sister concern of Kashmir based News Agency Kashmir News Trust. Network KNT is a sincere attempt from budding Journalists of Kashmir to present News in its true form without any favoritism and bias.

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