July 24, 2017

India - Jammu Kashmir: RSS pushes minority status for Hindus living in Jammu and Kashmir

The Tribune

RSS demand for minority panel puts BJP in fix

Dinesh Manhotra
Tribune News Service
Jammu, July 23

The BJP is in a quandary after the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) favoured minority status for Hindus living in Jammu and Kashmir. The coalition government, in which the BJP is an equal partner, had opposed the creation of a minority commission in J&K which is the only Muslim majority state in the country. “It is a welcome step. Ultimately, the RSS leadership has come forward to restore constitutional and fundamental rights to the minority community in J&K,” said Ankur Sharma, a Jammu-based advocate who has filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court for setting up the minority panel. He, however, regretted that the state BJP, which is one of the constituents of the Sangh Parivar, has opposed constitutional rights to Hindus, Sikhs and other minorities. “The RSS leadership must direct the state BJP not to deprive Hindus and Sikhs of the state of their constitutional rights,” he had said. On Thursday, All India Prachar Pramukh of the RSS Manmohan Vaidya had favoured minority rights for the Hindus living in J&K. He said the government should take note of the demand for setting up a minority commission in J&K. Since Vaidya’s statement, no BJP leader is ready to come on record on the issue because neither the party can oppose its political mentor’s stand nor it can contradict its own government’s affidavit in the Supreme Court. Responding to the writ petition, J&K had filed an affidavit in the apex court in February to oppose a minority commission. “The petition for setting up a state minority commission in Jammu and Kashmir through a proper legislation, including time-bound identification and notification of religious and linguistic minorities by the state, is legally not maintainable,” the PDP-BJP government had told the apex court. Similarly on the floor of the Legislative Council, Social Welfare Minister Sajjad Lone on June 24, 2016, had outrightly rejected the demand for setting up a minority commission. On March 27 this year, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre and J&K Government to sit together and take a decision on setting up a minority commission in the state.