A public interest litigation (PIL) filed in the Supreme Court has demanded that Hindus be notified as minority community in eight states, including Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, and be given the legitimate benefits due to minorities under the Constitution.
Besides Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, the PIL filed by Delhi BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay has sought minority status for Hindus in Northeastern states of Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur; besides Lakshadweep.
Hindus are being deprived of their basic rights, guaranteed under Articles 25 to 30 of the Constitution, Upadhyay said the petition.
Quoting the 2011 Census, Upadhyay showed that Hindus are minority in eight states, ie, Lakshadweep (2.5 per cent), Mizoram (2.75 per cent), Nagaland (8.75 per cent), Meghalaya (11.53 per cent), J&K (28.44 per cent), Arunachal Pradesh (29 per cent), Manipur (31.39 per cent) and Punjab (38.40 per cent).
In these states, Hindus are still being considered as majority community and their minority rights are arbitrarily being given to the majority communities because neither central nor the state governments have notified Hindus as a 'minority' under Section 2(c) of National Commission for Minority Act, the PIL points out.
''Christians are majority in Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland and there is significant population in Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Kerala, Manipur, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, but they are treated as minority. Likewise, Sikhs have majority in Punjab and there is significant population in Delhi, Chandigarh and Haryana, but they are also treated as minority,'' the petition read.
The petition said Hindus are being treated as majority in these states despite being minority in population and are illegally being deprived of benefits meant for minority communities.
''Their minority rights are being siphoned off illegally and arbitrarily to the majority population because neither central nor the state governments have notified Hindus as a 'minority' under Section 2 (c) of the NCM Act. Therefore, the Hindus are being deprived of their basic rights, guaranteed under the Articles 25 to 30,'' said Upadhyay.
''The union government offered 20,000 scholarships in the field of technical education for minority students. In J&K, the Muslims are 68.3 per cent and the government allotted 717 out of 753 scholarships to Muslim students, but none to Hindu students citing notification on minority communities dated 23 October 1993, which declares Muslim's as minority, but not the Hindus,'' the petitioner pointed out.
The top court is already seized of another PIL with regard to Jammu and Kashmir wherein petitioner Ankur Sharma - a Jammu-based advocate - alleged that the benefits meant for minorities were going to the majority community, ie, Muslims in the state. Sharma had alleged that crores of rupees were being squandered away as the state was spending money on unidentified minorities.