January 28, 2013 Asia - Lucknow, India: State government may have distributed financial aid to girls from poor Muslim families under the scheme meant to support their higher education and marriage in different parts of the state on the occasion of National Girl Child Day on Thursday, but girls of the Sikh community from the economically weaker section protested in the city against not getting the benefit of the scheme. Various other programmes were organised by government and non-government organisations to spread awareness about the needs of the girl child.
In Meerut, state minister for minorities welfare and urban development minister Mohammad Azam Khan distributed cheques of Rs 30,000 each to over 800 girl students under the scheme ‘Padhe Betiya Badhe Betiya’ and ‘Humari Beti: Uska Kal’. The function was held at Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut. Khan said girls were the life and soul of the society hence every care should be taken for their upbringing. He also said the state government had implemented schemes for the education of girls, which would be like educating an entire family and contribute towards developing an educated country, he added.
In Lucknow, scores of girls from poor Sikh families held a demonstration at Naka Hindola crossing, demanding benefits of the schemes which, they said, state government claimed were meant for the welfare of minorities. The girls said that like Muslims, Sikhs were also in minority in the state and should be included in the schemes framed for the welfare of minority communities. The representatives of the Sikh community said they would meet chief minister Akhilesh Yadav with their charter of demands soon. They also warned that if their demands were not met, the community would launch a statewide agitation.
Government officials said girls of Sikh community were equally eligible for financial aid under various welfare schemes, including Kanya Vidya Dhan, aimed at supporting class XII passed out girls for their higher education. Officials also assured that the ‘sentiments’ of the Sikh community will be communicated to the chief minister. On the other hand, there were also reports of protests from other parts of the state against anomalies in distribution of Kanya Vidya Dhan. Meanwhile, UP State Social Welfare Board organised a seminar on protection of girl child in the city on the occasion. Programmes were also held in various educational institutes.