New Delhi: Union Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptullah on Wednesday said the central government wants a "tranquil" atmosphere in the country and will protect the minorities.
During an interaction with women journalists at the Indian Women Press Corps here, Heptullah also said comments by "individuals are immaterial".
"In a country of 1.2 billion, many people say things just to come in the limelight. The government's aim is to create a tranquil atmosphere," she said.
She was replying to a question about growing concern among the minority communities following communal statements by the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders and conversion programmes being reported.
"Minorities need not be concerned, the government will protect them," she said.
Asked about the proposed anti-conversion bill being talked about, she said: "There are already so many laws... if there is a consensus on any law, it's up to the lawmakers to decide. I will abide by my party's decision."
The minister said Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech and Home Minister Rajnath Singh on several occasions have given assurances that the interests of minorities will be protected.
"The prime minister's speech from Red Fort is the most important of all his speeches. He assured minorities, he will not keep repeating it. It is the responsibility of the home minister to to give confidence of safety and security (to minorities) and the home minister has always come forth to do so.
"There is no shift in government policy, if some individual is saying something it is immaterial," Heptullah said.
"If I start reacting to all statements nothing will happen, I want to focus on my work. Once the minorities see the result, they will be satisfied," she said.
"I hope in a country where all of us live as friends, we will continue to do so."
On union minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti's comments which created an uproar in parliament, the minister said: "I told the minister that the comment was not in good taste and the prime minister also disapproved of it."
Asked about reservations for minorities, Heptullah said the constitution did not allow it and the government was focusing on providing skill training so that they can get jobs in private sector.
"According to constitution, there cannot be religion based reservations. Some state did that and it is always stopped by the court. Moreover, there are not many job in government sector," said the minister.
"We are providing skill training to minorities so that they can get jobs in private sector. By March, 10,000 youth will be trained for ready for jobs. If they want to be entrepreneur, loans will be provided," Heptullah added.