Constitutional guarantees under Article 29 and 30 (rights of minorities) are no guarantees at all in Jammu and Kashmir due to the failure of the government in identifying religious and linguistic minorities and declaring them as notified minorities, said the PIL.
The relevant fundamental rights of the minorities in the state have been practically abrogated by not identifying and notifying the minorities. Rights and benefits due to the minorities are being siphoned off arbitrarily and illegally, it added.
The committee, comprising State Chief Secretary and Secretary of Minority Affairs Ministry, will submit its report by 31 July this year.
A PIL was filed in the Supreme Court saying that the muslims are majority in Jammu and Kashmir but the government is giving them benefits meant for minorities. The matter is to be heard on 31 July.
According to the 2011 census, Islam is practised by about 68.3% of the state population. Among the minorities, 28.4% are Hindus, followed by Sikhs (1.9%), Buddhists (0.9%) and Christians (0.3%).
In Kashmir valley, about 96.4% are Muslims, followed by Hindus (2.45%), Sikhs (0.98%) and others (0.17%).
Sharma said he filed the PIL to “safeguard the interests of religious and linguistic minorities and for the enforcement of their fundamental rights.
“Non-identification and non-notification of the minorities is leading to disbursement of minority benefits illegally and arbitrarily according to the whims and fancies of successive state governments,” he alleged.
This is the first time since the Calcutta Quran Petition (1985) that Hindus have acted in such an assertive manner. Long inured to being treated as second class citizens on account of the special status (Article 370) bestowed upon the State by first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to pamper Lord Louis Mountbatten’s protégé, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, Hindus have tended to be quietist for most of the past seven decades.