MINORITY STATUS TO MAJORITY…?

With the Public Interest Litigation on the issue of Minority Rights of Non-Muslims in J&K and eight other states pending disposal before the Apex Court of the nation, the people are quite hopeful of the Judiciary pacing up the proceedings of the case to settle the issue once for all. When the PIL namely Ankur Sharma V/s State of J&K and Others came up before the CJI’s Bench for hearing today the central government through AG K.K Venugopal stated that the State of J&K is “disowning” not only the decision but also the meetings of the Joint Committee formed for providing minority rights to the non-Muslims of J&K. It is pertinent to mention here that Centre has introduced a paragraph in the minutes of the meeting of the Joint Committee wherein it has observed that “the State of J&K is in principle agreement with the constitution of a State Minority Commission in J&K”. However the J&K state backed off and said that “No, we are not principally in agreement with having a State Minority Commission in J&K. We will take a decision on this only at an appropriate stage”. The CJI was quite justified in stating that if the J&K State is disowning, we can post the matter for final disposal on merits. It was astonishing to find the State developing cold feet and seeking the matter to be passed over for a while. However the Chief Justice declined the Passover and the bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud considered and allowed the request of the State Government to defer the hearing by four weeks on the plea that raised issues like whether majority Muslims can avail benefits, meant for minorities in the State. The J&K government has been directed to either come up with a blueprint on the matter or face the matter on merits. Since the two coalition partners namely BJP and the PDP are ideologically miles apart therefore the fist fight between the Centre and the State government on various issues including this issue vital issue springs no surprise. The allegations though serious are in the eyes of minorities in the crown state quite genuine. It has been alleged in the PIL “The State of J&K is not a Secular but a Communal State. It is obvious for it to deny Minority Rights to its Minorities because it doesn’t work on the principles of Secularism but that of Islamic Laws. The litmus test for any state to be secular is the degree of protection it provides to its Minorities. The State of J&K apart from denying security and protection to its minorities loots away monetary and other benefits in favour of majority community and discriminates against minorities in matters of Public Employment, disbursal of schemes, share in revenue etc.” Though deciding this vital issue by the apex court is quite a ticklish task keeping in view the sensitivity of the J&K state but the people especially the minorities in the J&K state are confident that the Supreme Court will pronounce its verdict absolutely on merits unlike an earlier decision of rejecting the probe into the killings of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley and fixing the responsibility for their displacement and last but not the least punishing the culprits who are roaming freely despite having acknowledged in media of the killings of KPs and that of the Air Force officials. Is it not an Irony that the appeasement policy followed by the successive Central governments in league with state governments till yesteryears always resulted in blatant and atrocious discriminations against the minorities in the crown state of India? Now that the apex Court has already asked the state of J&K to come up with a blueprint on the matter or face the matter on merits, it is hoped that the Supreme Court is all set to deliver a historical judgement in this case that would turn out to be the game changer for the people of this state.