Ground Report | Wahid Bhat
Contrary to repeated assurances of the BJP leadership, the government does not acknowledge Hindus as a ‘minority’ in the newly carved-out Muslim majority Union Territory (UT) of J&K despite abrogation of Article 370.
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Before bifurcation of the erstwhile J&K state into two UTs, the saffron party’s leaders used to argue that it was due to the so-called ‘special status’ that Hindus of J&K were not getting benefits of the schemes meant for minorities.
The Social Welfare Department of the UT issued a notification on Friday inviting online applications for post-matric scholarships for students belonging to ‘minority communities’ for pursing higher studies in the country. Interestingly, there has been no mention of Hindus in the list of minorities.
The notification mention that students of J&K belonging to Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Zoroastrains (Parsis) and Jains communities, pursuing higher studies in government recognised institutes across the country are eligible for these scholarships.
With December 16 being the last day to apply for these scholarships, no official was ready to speak on the issue. According to Census 2011, Hindus account for 28.43 per cent of the state’s population at 3.56 million. Meanwhile, total population of Muslims in the erstwhile state of J&K is 85, 67,485, while there are 35,66,674 Hindus. Buddhist population, which stood at 1, 137,87 as per Census 2001, has declined by 1.2 per cent in the past one decade. According to Census 2011, there were 1, 12,584 Buddhists in J&K. Ironically, the BJP leaders have been tight-lipped over this notification.
PDP-BJP govt had moved SC In 2017, the PDP-BJP government has refused to acknowledge Hindus as ‘minority’ in J&K. The PDP-BJP government had filed an application in the Supreme Court stating that benefits of welfare schemes would only be given to members of those communities, which were notified by the Centre, suggesting that Hindus would not be eligible. The National Commission for Minorities Act could not be extended to
J&K due to Article 370.