New Delhi: Citing continuous human rights violations and denial of basic rights to Hindus, a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court has sought minority status for the religion in eight states and to "repeal the notification on minority community" as arbitrary and invalid.
The plea, filed by Delhi BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, states 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.
The plea has also been addressed to Minister of Law and Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 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."
The states for which Hindus should be declared as minority according to the plea are Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Punjab.
Apart from seeking minority status for Hindus, Upadhyay has also asked for the notification on Minority Community be repealed as arbitrary as it ultra-vires the Constitution. "A repeal, thereof, ‘except the State of Jammu and Kashmir’ be served from Section 1(2) of the NCM Act, as it is invalid and against the Constitution and its basic structure," said the petition.
The PIL cites an August 19 research report titled ‘Hindu Human Rights Report’, published on the web portal ‘India Facts’. The report, which was in collaboration with the Srijan Foundation, is termed as India’s first ever documentation of both systematic and episodic violations of human rights including sanctioned discrimination. The plea notes "how a level playing field for Hindus has been skewed".
"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," reads the report as quoted by the plea.
The petition states 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."