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Wajahat Habibullah to head minorities commission

Vidya Subrahmaniam

New Delhi: India's first Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah is the next chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM).

Mr. Habibullah, who received his orders on Tuesday, will formally take charge on Thursday.

Mr. Habibullah, a 1968-batch IAS officer, will be filling a post that has been lying vacant for the past five months.

His predecessor, Mohammad Shafi Quereshi, retired on September 2, 2010.

A member of the NCM, who described the chairperson as the “driving force” of the NCM, said things had come to a “standstill” in the Commission with no one to guide its affairs.

Mr. Quereshi was a Union Minister and Governor before his appointment to the NCM.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Habibullah said that while he needed time to study his brief, he would be looking to fulfil the constitutional mandate with regard to providing a level playing field to all communities: “The overall objective is that the full weight of the Constitution, which enjoins equal opportunities for all communities, is respected in all parts of the country.”

Mr. Habibullah disputed the perception that the NCM was powerless in intervening on behalf of the minorities: “It is a Commission with a certain degree of authority and in the past it has successfully brought issues of importance to the government's attention.”

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