The Mehbooba Mufti led BJP-PDP government, has as per reports told the Supreme Court that it has no plans to set up a minority commission in the state. A setting up of such a commission might mean that the minorities in the state like Hindus and Sikhs could have availed minority benefits worth crores.
Even though demographically Jammu and Kashmir is a Muslim majority state with a total 68.31 % Muslim followed by 28.44% Hindus, the Muslim community continues to avail all the minority benefits.
Such a paradox is witnessed in 7 other states of the country namely, Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Punjab. Out of these 7 states, 4 have a Christian majority, one has a Muslim majority and one has a Sikh majority.
As a result of this, Delhi BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay filed a PIL in the Supreme Court, which sought that Hindus be given a minority status in these eight states. The Supreme Court though refused to entertain this petition and asked the petitioner to approach the National Minorities Commission.
Since then reports have emerged which claim that the National Commission for Minorities has in-turn referred the matter to the law commission for its opinion, comment and advice.
Another such individual who is leading the fight in this regard is Jammu-based lawyer Ankur Sharma. Sharma has filed a PIL in the Supreme Court which sought the formation of a minority commission in Jammu & Kashmir. Sharma has argued that minority Hindus aren’t able to avail the benefits of centre and state minority welfare schemes.
In a response to this, the Jammu & Kashmir government has filed an affidavit before the court, where it has virtually ruled out setting up such a commission. It has claimed that the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992’s implementation is not binding and is solely based on the state’s prerogative.
The affidavit then claimed that the government would examine the need and feasibility of such a commission as and when need arises. This will be based on a critical study of the social and educational backwardness of the minorities spread across the state.
The affidavit also decided to indulge in whataboutery by questioning as to why did the petitioner only demand the setting up of a minority commission in Jammu & Kashmir and not in all the other states and union territories which are yet to set it up.
The Supreme Court too has indicated that its hands are tied in this matter after it categorically stated that it cannot direct the Jammu & Kashmir government to form such a minority commission. The apex court in turn asked the centre to deliberate on this matter.