A public interest litigation (PIL) filed in the Supreme Court has sought minority status for Hindus in eight states where the religious community’s population has fallen below 50 per cent, according to the 2011 Census. The plea has sought minority status for Hindus in Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Punjab where the population of the community is less than 50 per cent.
The plea, filed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, said that minority rights are being siphoned off “illegally and arbitrarily” to the majority population as neither the Centre nor the state has notified Hindus as a ‘minority’ under the National Commission of Minorities Act, 1992.
"Therefore, Hindus are being deprived of their basic rights, guaranteed under Articles 25 to 30,” the petition said.
“According to 2011 Census, Hindus are minority in eight states i.e. Lakshadweep (2.5%), Mizoram (2.75%), Nagaland (8.75%), Meghalaya (11.53%), Jammu and Kashmir (28.44%), Arunachal Pradesh (29%), Manipur (31.39%) and Punjab (38.40%)," the PIL says.
The PIL cited an August research report titled ‘Hindu Human Rights Report’ which is termed as “India’s first ever documentation of both systematic and episodic violations of human rights including sanctioned discrimination.”
"There is an attempt to skew the level playing field in the private education sector against the Hindu community. In last three years, the government has forced the closure of 7659 non-minority schools. Moreover, in last three years, budget increase for minorities is far higher compared to other groups like Tribals, Scheduled Caste and Other Backward Caste," the plea quoted the report as saying.
The report was published on the web portal ‘India Facts’.
The petition said that "the denial of minority rights to the actual religious and linguistic minorities is a violation of fundamental right of minority community enshrined under the Article 21".
Upadhyay has argued that denial of this status to Hindus only shows the "furtherance of vote bank politics."
The plea has also been addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister of Law and Justice, stating that it was the "duty of the State to move beyond the minority-majority binary communal politics, which ironically passes for secularism in this country, has been the bane of our democracy."