Kashmir’s government may set up minority commission for Hindus

Srinagar: Mehbooba Mufti government in Jammu and Kashmir has agreed to set up a minority commission in the state, the Centre informed Supreme Court on Monday. This is seen as a progression for the minority of Hindus, who comprise 28.4 percent of the total state population, as the state government had two months ago told the court, that ‘it had no such plans’. In December, Mufti government had said that the implementation of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992 is not binding and is the sole prerogative of the state legislature.

“The state government of Jammu and Kashmir has in principle given an indication that the state government will consider and examine the feasibility of setting up state minority commission based upon the critical study of the social and educational backwardness of the minorities across various regions of the state,” the attorney general KK Venugopal read out before a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra. While reading out the minutes of the joint meeting, Venugopal said, “It has also been stated that considering the special needs of the minorities residing in J&K, a special project, Chief minister’s inclusive development initiative, is being formulated by the state government.”

“The said project will have focused development efforts for certain special segments of the society and will include upgrading civic infrastructure such as health, education, water etc, scholarship schemes for students not covered under schemes of ministry of minority affairs so as to take care of the difficulties of special segments of the population including minorities residing in the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” the report by India Today quoted.

The court disposed of a public interest litigation filed by Jammu-based lawyer Ankur Sharma, demanding the minority commission in the state. He had then argued that Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir are unable to benefit from central and state welfare schemes for minorities. Sharma said he filed the PIL to “safeguard the interests of religious and linguistic minorities and for the enforcement of their fundamental rights.”