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Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists wait for Minority status in J&K

Last Updated on February 27, 2021 at 12:48 pm

Despite the fact that Jammu and Kashmir is a Muslim majority erstwhile state (now UT), there is no commission for minorities including Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists like in most other states of the country.

In 2018, the then government of J&K led by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had agreed before the Supreme Court to set up a State Minority Commission. The Court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by lawyer Ankur Sharma regarding the rights of non-Muslim minorities in Jammu and Kashmir.

J&K is the only Muslim majority state in the country where those benefits extended to the minorities of India are not extended to Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists despite their lesser population in the Union Territory.

The plea by Ankur Sharma in the court asserted that J&K is a Muslim majority state and the community receives all kind of packages and assistance from central government that are extended to minority communities of the country but no such facilities are provided to the minorities of J&K including Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists.

However after the abrogation of Article 370 and end of special status to J&K, the BJP led central government has so far refuse to give Hinus a minority status in J&K.

The Supreme Court on February 9 this year sought government’s reply on a plea, seeking transfer of cases from several high courts to it against the Centre’s notification to declare five communities — Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsees — as minorities even in those states and UTs where they are in majority.

The high courts at Delhi, Meghalaya and Guwahati are seized of the petitions challenging the Constitutional validity of section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992, under which the notification was issued on October 23, 1993.

The notification had declared the five communities as minorities across the country, leading to a situation where majority population of Sikhs in Punjab and Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir are availing of the benefits meant for minorities, the transfer petition alleged.