Saturday, February 13, 2010

Maiden 'Doha Debates' in India to discuss treatment given to Muslims

New Delhi, Feb 12 (UNI) Aiming to provide a free speech forum to Indian students to speak out their mind on how Muslims are treated in the country, the 'Doha Debates' are holding a session in the national capital on February 15.

This will be the first ever discussion held in Asia by the forum, that claims to champion free speech on controversial issues.

Spotlighting India's Muslim minority, the motion ''The House believes Muslims are not getting a fair deal in India'', will be debated at the St Stephen's College of the Delhi University by eminent Indian personalities from different fields.

''Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology Sachin Pilot and distinguished journalist M J Akbar will be speaking against the motion while Seema Mustafa, who has authored a number of books on Indian politics, and civil rights
activist Teesta Setalvad will be debating for the motion,'' Debates' Chairman Tim Sebastian informed.

He informed that St Stephen's is the first Asian educational institution to invite the Debates, which is hosted and funded by the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development.

''In all our debates held till now, around 45 in number, students have formed two-third of the audience. In this one too, 300 students from different Indian universities are likely to participate,'' Mr Sebastian told UNI.

He added that 10 students from Doha, the capital city of the state of Qatar, would also be joining in.

On a question about his choice of topic, he said the subject had provoked considerable controversy within the country and a passionate debate was much needed for clarity.

''How does a democracy of the size of India deals with its Muslim minority and are their rights effectively safeguarded? Who is to blame if they under-perform? What lessons can the rest of the world draw from India's experience? Such questions are likely to be answered in the debate,'' Mr Sebastian noted.


The Kashmir Images

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