Early Times Report
Jammu, Dec 13: While lust for power has turned state BJP dumb to the blatant discrimination against the minorities in J&K, its spokesman has exposed hypocrisy of his own party by raising question mark on his party's complete surrender to its coalition partner over the issue of setting up a Minority Commission in J&K to deliver justice to the religious minorities here.
It is astounding that a party that has raised its entire polity on the citadel of alleged discrimination with minorities for decades suddenly turned blind to the continuous and unrelenting discrimination against religious minorities and even opposed setting up of state minority commission to stay in power.
In a veiled attack against his own party, BJP spokesman Prof. Varinder Gupta while reacting to an affidavit filed by the state government in the Supreme Court ruling out a minority commission in Jammu and Kashmir, state BJP spokesperson Prof Virender Gupta said, "The Kashmiri leadership that considers itself a most secular lot cannot afford to ignore the plight of minorities in the state, who are criminally victimised and discriminated against." The state, with about 68 per cent Muslim population, cannot provide benefits meant for minorities to the majority community, he added.
The state government's affidavit had come in response to a public interest litigation filed by a local lawyer, Ankur Sharma, seeking directions to the state government to legislate a state minority commission for time-bound identification of religious and linguistic minorities.
Despite Jammu and Kashmir being predominantly a Muslim majority state, Hindus continue to be tagged as majority community and are deprived of concessions and benefits admissible to minority communities in our country because majority status to Hindus has been accorded according to national census.
In 6 states& UTs viz. Jammu & Kashmir, Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Punjab, the Hindus are a minority in contrast with the rest of the country. The minority standard of Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsees who are designated as minority in India should not be applicable to these states. For example, in Punjab Sikhs are in majority, in J& K Muslims are in majority. "On August 8, 2005, a Supreme Court judgment decreed that no more communities should be declared as a minority at the national level. Only the state government may declare communities as minorities."
Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Bill, 2004 along with National Commission for Minorities (Repeal) Bill, 2004, was introduced in the parliament during UPA-I regime, according to which the states were to be asked to conduct review on the basis of data available as to who is a minority, so as to bring an end to these anomalies, but the said bill became victim of politics in the Parliament and was lapsed.
Strangely, despite ouster of Kashmiri Pandits from their home and hearth, they continue to be termed as a majority community in J&K while Muslim community of the state, which attained nearly 70 percent demographic majority, continued to be termed as minority and enjoy all benefits and concessions admissible to minorities.