National Commission for Minorities sets up committee to look into Minority status for Hindus
The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has set up three member committee to study the matter to give minority status to Hindus in 8 states where their population is less than 50%.
The committee will be led by NCM’s Vice Chairman George Kurien and has been given three months to submit its report. NCM after examining the report will take a view over the issue.
The NCM’s decision is based on plea filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ashwini Upadhyaya, whose petition on matter to grant minority status to Hindus in eight states was rejected by Supreme Court in November 2017. The apex court had directed him to approach the NCM.
According to 2011 Census, Hindus are in monitory in eight states — Lakshadweep (2.5%), Mizoram (2.75%), Nagaland (8.75%), Meghalaya (11.53%), J&K (28.44%), Arunachal Pradesh (29%), Manipur (31.39%), and Punjab (38.40%). It is argued that in absence of “minority” status to Hindus in these states, benefits meant for minority communities were being given away to majority community in illegal and arbitrary manner.
National Commission for Minorities (NCM)
NCM is statutory body set up under National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992. It works under the Ministry of Minority Affairs. Its mandate is to evaluate progress of development of Minorities.
It also monitors working of safeguards provided in Constitution and in laws enacted by Parliament and State Legislatures. It also makes recommendations for effective implementation of safeguards for protection of interests of Minorities by the Central Government or State Governments. It looks into specific complaints regarding deprivation of rights and safeguards of minorities and take up such matters with the appropriate authorities.
Constitution of India has not defined word ‘Minority’ and only refers to ‘Minorities’ but it speaks of those ‘based on religion or language’ and rights of minorities have been spelt out in Constitution in detail. Six religious communities, viz. Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Jains have been notified in Gazette of India as minority communities by Union Government all over India.