The debate on who the actual minorities in the state of Jammu & Kashmir are has livened up. A PIL filed by Ankur Sharma had alleged that the state government was doling out hundreds of crores of rupees that were meant for the minority communities of the state. But, this money was benefiting Muslims who form the majority in the state. The PIL alleged that the state had not yet identified the minority communities.
In what can be seen as a positive step, & one that can transform the lives of the minorities in the state, the Centre & the state government agreed before the Supreme Court to sit together & resolve the issue. According to the 2011 Census in the state, 68.21% were Muslims, 28.43% were Hindus, while Sikhs, Christians, Jains, etc., accounted for less than 4% of the population.
A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar, Justice D Y Chandrachud & Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul recorded in its order: ‘J&K government & the Union government have agreed to sit together to consider the difficulties faced by minorities in the state & submit a proposal in four weeks. We appreciate the desire to jointly address the issue. We expect fruitful results.’
The PIL petitioner had requested the SC to appoint a committee to identify minority communities & also stop all disbursement of monetary benefits to minority communities in J&K till the committee gave its report. It had also sought a probe by a special investigation team into illegal & arbitrary disbursal of benefits to majority community in the state from the funds meant for minority communities.
How significant is this?
If the rightful minorities are identified in J&K, then this would create an example for the rest of the country. There are numerous other states/UTs where Hindus aren’t in the majority (2011 Census) –
- Meghalaya – 74.59% Christianity
- Mizoram – 87.16% Christianity
- Nagaland – 87.93% Christianity
- Punjab – 57.69% Sikhism
- Lakshadweep – 96.57% Islam
It is only logical that the definition of minorities be defined state-wise as well. For example, Christians are minorities in the country, but in Mizoram they aren’t. Now, if going by the national definition Christians are given minority-benefits in Mizoram, then it doesn’t make any sense.
At this moment, the focus is on Jammu & Kashmir. If in the near future rightful minorities are identified in the state & giving due benefits, then the same can be applied on a pan-India basis. This will to a certain extent reduce the pathetic situation that Hindus live-in in states where they are in the minority.