Minister for Social Welfare Sajjad Lone Thursday said there is a need to “merge Muslims of Kashmir into mainstream India as they have suffered immensely due to violence.”
“Your demands will add fire,” Lone said, replying to demand of BJP legislators to declare Hindus as minority in Jammu and Kashmir.
“It is time to merge Muslims of Kashmir into national mainstream of India; they need incentives and healing touch as they have suffered a lot due to violence over the years,” Lone said, replying to queries of BJP MLCs in the Upper House.
He rejected the BJP legislators’ plea to declare Hindus as minority in Jammu and Kashmir, saying declaring minorities is the dominion of the central government.
Citing examples, the minister said Jammu has a Hindu majority and Kashmir has a Muslim majority. “By this logic we cannot declare minorities at block levels, we have to follow the national criteria,” he said.
Responding to a clubbed query of MLCs Vibodh Gupta, Dhrambir Singh and Charanjeet Singh whether the state government intends to set up a minority commission, the minister said there is no such proposal.
Lone said no community has been declared as Minority by the state.
However community-wise percentage of declared national minorities in the state is as: Muslim 68.31%, Sikh 1.87%, Christian 0.28%, Buddhist 0.90% and Jain 0.02%.
However, the reply of the minister could not satisfy the BJP legislators who stood up from their seats demanding that Hindus be declared as minorities in J&K.
“It is a human right violation with Hindus that despite being in the minority they are not getting benefits which minorities throughout the country get,” he said, adding that the BJP has been demanding setting up of minority commission in the state.
“Even chief minister Mehbooba Mufti has said that J&K has Article 370 that accords special status to J&K, so the state government can amend or create any law itself and has authority to create the minority commission as well,” Gupta said.
Gupta also staged a walkout from the House in protest against the government’s “failure” to accept the demand of BJP legislators to grant minority status to Hindus in the state.
“It is a long-pending demand of the actual minorities of the state,” Gupta said. “It is irony that you are not declaring 30 percent population as minority; it is injustice with them as they are being deprived of various welfare schemes of the government for minorities.”
BJP MLC, Chiranjeet Singh said even ruling PDP in its election manifesto had announced that they would give Sikhs minority status but till now the government is silent on the issue.
Another BJP MLC, SurinderAmaradar said after migration of Kashmiri Pandits, now Sikhs living in Kashmir are migrating. “There is need to address the issue of the minorities in the state.”
While intervening during the Question Hour, the National Conference legislator Qaiser Jhamshed Lone said since the BJP has taken over control at the Centre, the minorities are fleeing from the country.