New Delhi

A comment from KPCC president G Parameshwara suggesting that the minorities need not repay loans borrowed from banks and government agencies seems to have stirred a hornet’s nest, with many viewing the remark as aimed at appeasing the minorities ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2014.

Parameshwara’s remark came at a Congress workshop on government schemes for minorities in the city, on Saturday. Parameshwara is reported to have said that when big industries default loans running into crores of rupees, it was acceptable if people from the minority communities “commit a lesser fraud”, implying that they need not return loans. He also said that the Karnataka Minorities Development Corporation should sanction loans to the tune of Rs50 lakh for the community, as against the few thousands that it does now.

In the face of the criticism, Parameshwara claimed that his statement was taken “out of context”, but the clarification has not staunched the barrage that has targeted him.

Lambasting the KPCC president for his comment, Abdul Aziz, National fellow at National Law School of India University said: “It is not a good idea. It’s public money. Loans are meant to be returned with interest. Whether it is minorities or others, they are expected to return the loan either by installment or after the expiry of the loan tenure. If it is a grant or subsidy, it is not meant to be returned. For example, scholarships, grant given under housing schemes, irrigation schemes or under business and industrial development schemes.”

President of JD(S) state minorities cell, HM Shakeel Nawaz, too criticised the comment, stating that it has portrayed the minorites under bad light.

“I condemn the statement of G Parameshwara advising minorities not to repay the loans availed from financial institutions. Minorities are known for leading their life with self respect and dignity. Parameshwara’s statement showcases minorities as defaulters of loans availed from financial institutions. Minorities are not beggars. They, under the leadership of Abul Kalam Azad, refused reservation when BR Ambedkar and others sent a proposal,” Nawaz said.

“If the Congress leaders are so concerned about the welfare of minorities, let them work on the implementation of Sachar Committee recommendations. 
Congress leaders, including Parameshwara, are shedding crocodile tears when it comes to welfare schemes for minorities. Congress leaders, with an eye on the recent assembly elections, vied with each other to issue statements on the proposed Tipu University at Srirangapatna. After assembly elections, not a single leader of Congress is talking on the need for establishing Tipu University at Srirangapatna. They have conveniently forgotten about it,” Nawaz said.

He said Parameshwara’s remark was made with an eye on the forthcoming elections for the Lok Sabha, “His advice to minorities not to repay bank loans is nothing but vote bank politics. I am confident that minorities would not fall in this vote bank politics. It is the JD(S) that introduced 4% reservation for minorities in Karnataka. It was the first in the country. It was HD Deve Gowda who extended loan facility for minorities on par with farmers,” he said. 

Founder and trustee of Association for Democratic Reforms, Trilochan Sastry, said: “I am not aware in what context the KPCC president G Parameshwara made such a statement. I am of the opinion that it is wrong for any leader to advise people from minority communities or others not to repay the loans availed from banks. It is public money and all those who take loans from banks must return with interest and within the stiuplated time.”

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