New Delhi: A sub-committee of the National Commission for Minorities, which was looking into whether Hindus can be granted minority status in eight states, has said in its interim report that "Hindus cannot be granted minority status at the national level due to Constitutional boundaries”.
The NCM had set up a three-member committee on the question of granting minority status to Hindus in seven states and 1 Union Territory where they account for less than 50% of the population.
The committee, led by NCM Vice Chairman George Kurien, has been given three months to submit its report.
NCM chairman Syed Ghayorul Hasan Rizvi told News18 that the panel has concluded in an interim report that "since the Constitution mandates minority status to be granted to only six communities, there can be no further alteration in that. However, states are at liberty to implement their own minority classification."
The Constitution of India has not defined word ‘minority’ and only refers to ‘minorities’, but speaks of those ‘based on religion or language’ and rights of minorities have been spelt out in Constitution in detail.
Six religious communities — Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Jains — have been notified in Gazette of India as minority communities by the Union Government all over India.
The sub-committee has now fixed June 14 as the date to have a full commission to understand the "real picture behind the issue”.
The NCM decision to set up the sub-committee was based on a plea filed by BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyaya, whose petition on the matter was rejected by the Supreme Court on November 10. The court had directed him to approach the NCM.
Upadhyay has been invited to take part in the sub-committee meeting on June 14 so that the "points made by the petitioner can be heard in detail”, Rizvi told News18.
According to the 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%).
The petitioner has argued that in the 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”.
The petitioner claimed that the "propagation of Islam and the five tenets of Islam” was why Hindus were a minority. “According to the 3rd tenet, even a Muslim driver honestly donates his 2% annual income to promote and propagate Islam. This is the reason Islam is majority in 62 countries in just 1,400 years. And the world's oldest Sanatan Dharma is not even one country. Now Hindus are minority in eight states," Upadhyay said.