Can Hindus be given minority status, SC asks NCM to examine

The Time of India, Feb. 12, 2019 writes the following from New Delhi, under the caption,
“Can Hindus be given minority status, SC asks NCM to examine”:

Can Hindus in states where they are numerical minorities avail of welfare benefits
meant for minority communities? And should minority status be set at the state rather than national level?

An apex court bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said that it was for
the NCM to first take a call on the issue and asked the commission to take a view on a
representation filed by BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.

“Instead of entertaining the present writ petition, we are of the view that at this stage
the NCM should be asked to consider the representation dated Nov. 17, 2017, filed by the petitioner and pass appropriate orders thereon. The court would expect the commission to take a decision in the matter as early as possible, preferably within three months,” it said.

According to 2011 Census, Hindus are minority in eight states: Lakshadweep (2.5%),
Mizoram (2.75%), Nagaland (8.75%), Meghalaya (11.53%), Jammu & Kashmir (28.44%), Arunachal Pradesh (29%), Manipur (31.39%) and Punjab (38.40%). But their minority rights are being siphoned off illegally and arbitrarily to the majority population belonging to other communities as neither central nor state governments have
notified Hindus as a minority under National Commission for Minority Act,” the petition
said.

SC had earlier refused to entertain Upadhyay’s petition seeking minority status for
Hindus in eight states and asked him to approach and raise the issue before NCM. The
petitioner filed a representation before the commission but approached SC after getting
no response from the commission.

The petitioner contended that Hindus were outnumbered by people from other religions in seven states and one UT. It pleaded that Hindus be granted the minority status to pave the way for them to avail of welfare schemes meant for minorities.

Upadhyay submitted that minority status should be decided at the state level and not at
the national level. As per a 1993 notification by the Centre, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs,
Buddhists and Parsis were granted the minority status in India and Jains were added in the list in 2014.

To add from The Telegraph, 12th February, 2019– His latest petition said the Centre was
acting in an arbitrary manner by designating only Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis as minorities in the country. “The government offered 20,000 scholarships in (the) field of technical education for minority students. In J & K, Muslims are 68.3 per cent but (the) government allotted 717 out of 753 scholarships to Muslim students but none to Hindus. The above statistics confirm that there has been no application of mind by the central government in identifying the minorit(ies),” it claimed.

Upadhyay’s petition challenged the powers conferred by Section 2C of the National
Commission for Minorities Act, 1992, to the Centre, under which it had issued a notification on October 23, 1993 designating only five communities as minorities “without defining ‘minority’ and framing parameters for identification of ‘minority’”.

It argued that Muslims were the majority in Lakshadweep, with 96.2 per cent of the
population, and Jammu and Kashmir (68.3 per cent) and had significant populations in Assam (34.2 per cent), Bengal (27.5 per cent), Kerala (26.6 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (19.3 per cent) and Bihar (18 per cent).

“However, they are enjoying the ‘minority’ status, and the communities, which are real
minorities, are not getting their legitimate share because of non-identification of minorities at state level, thereby jeopardizing their fundamental rights,” it said.

“Christians are (the) majority in Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland and (have) significant population in Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Kerala, Manipur, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal but they are treated as minority. Likewise, Sikhs are (the) majority in Punjab and (have a ) significant population in Delhi, Chandigarh and Haryana….”

1. The groaning and gasping Hindu community in secular Bharat have been experiencing discrimination in educational institutions, social intervention by repudiating sacramental Hindu scriptures and age old valuable traditions that formed the bulwark of Hindu traditional values of culture and morality, by framing of anti-Hindu laws in repeated succession, deliberate and calculated neglect of Hindu places of worship, mischievous relegation of major amount of temple funds to benefit other communities, including Haj for Moslems and Churches for Christians, unleashing relentless anti-Shastric propaganda through spread of distorted history and spread of fallacious vilification of the superior Hindu culture, Dharma and traditional
values of purity, piety, chastity and self restraint through the anti- Hindu press and media etc. entrusted to launch a divisive, distorting and denigrating campaign.

It may be noted that some other states will also fall in line soon with the above states. West Bengal being one such potential state where different political parties vied with each other to offer facilities for registration, voter identity cards etc. to enhance the list of their possible supporters. The situation has been alarming in most of the bordering districts especially, District 24 Parganas (South).

2. PTI reported the following from Shillong on 13th December 2018 under the caption,
NRC is defective, nobody should try to make India another Islamic country: Meghalaya HC judge” as follows:A Meghalaya High Court judge has said the NRC is “defective” as many foreigners “became Indians” due to the exercise and nobody should try to make India an Islamic country. Justice S R Sen, in a judgement passed on Monday while disposing of a petition of a man who was denied domicile certificate by Meghalaya, also
observed that he was confident that only this government under Narendra Modi will
understand the gravity.

He said that like Pakistan, which declared itself an Islamic country after Independence,
India “should have also been declared a Hindu country but it remained as a secular country”.

At the same time, he urged the Centre to bring a law to allow Hindus, Sikhs, Jains,
Buddhist, Parsis, Christians and Khasis, Jaintias and Garos tribals who are presently residing in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan to live in this country peacefully and with full dignity, without making any cut-off year.

“The NRC is defective as many foreigners became Indian and original Indians are left out,” Justice Sen said, referring to the updating of National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam. “Nobody should try to make India another Islamic country otherwise it will be a
doomsday…,” Justice Sen said.The judge was, however, quick to add that he was not against “my Muslim brothers and sisters” who are residing in India for generations and abiding Indian laws.

“They should also be allowed to live peacefully.”

The judge said, “I am confident that only this government under Narendra Modi Ji will
understand the gravity, and will do the needful as requested above and our Chief Minister Mamataji will support the national interest in all respects.”

Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhist, Parsis, Christians and Khasis, Jaintias and Garos tribals
who are presently residing in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan should be given
citizenship without any question or production of any 21 documents, he ruled and directed that the order be delivered to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his colleagues besides to the office of Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy and Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma.

The court said these communities may be allowed to come at any point of time to settle
in India and government may provide rehabilitation properly and declare them citizens
of India.

Similar principle to be adopted for those Hindus and Sikhs who are of Indian origin and
presently residing abroad to come to India at any time as they like and they may be considered automatically as Indian citizens, he said in his 37-page order.

The court also said that it expects the Government of India to take a conscious
decision to protect the innocent Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhist, Parsis, Christians, Khasis,
Jaintias and Garos who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan and who
are yet to come from abroad as they have the same rights to come to India as Indian citizens.

Although the Centre’s Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 also seeks to make Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from the three countries eligible for Indian citizenship after a stay of six years, there was no mention of the bill in the court order.

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