Jammu and Kashmir, June 15, 2017: According to the Minority Community status, National Commission Minorities (NCM) chairman Gairul Hasan Rizvi favored Kashmiri Pandits in the state on Tuesday and said he would take up the matter with the Centre.
The NCM is nonfunctional in Jammu & Kashmir according to the article 370, which grants Kashmir a status of the special autonomous state. Rizvi stated that it would enable the government to extend benefits to the Kashmiri Pandit, which hold a minority status in Kashmir.
Currently, there are six minority communities in the country, namely – Muslim, Jain, Christian, Sikh, and Parsi.
“Kashmiri Pandits should get the minority community tag, mainly because they are in minority in their state, Jammu and Kashmir,” said Rizvi concerning the issue.
Rizvi said he would take up the matter with Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs (Independent Charge) Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and stakeholders involved.
The community members greeted Rizvi’s comment on the matter which was suppressed over the past 5 years. The members said they would take up the matter with the authorities again.
Manoj Bhan, the general secretary of Jammu and Kashmir Vichar Manch, said the organization and others would provide the authorities with the required documents in accordance with the Pandits minority community status.
“We had raised the issue with the authorities two-three times (during UPA-II regime), but nothing happened then…We deserve the status,” Bhan said.
According to Bhan, the minority population in Kashmir is between 4 lakh and 5 lakh in the country.
Benefits availed by the Minority Community (Kashmiri Pandit) with accredited with minority tag are mentioned below:
- Scholarship will be made available to students with family’s annual income below than Rs 4.5 lakh
- Educational institutions managed by the community will be recognized as minority institutions. Up to 50 percent of the seats will be reserved for community students at such institutions
Some key welfare schemes the Centre implements for minority communities:
- Scholarship schemes (pre-matric, post-matric and merit-cum-means)
- Padho Pardesh (scheme of interest subsidy on educational loans for overseas studies for community students)
- Free coaching and allied schemes
- Skill training such as learn and earn, Nai Manzil
- Prime Minister’s new 15-point program, which aims at ensuring an equitable share for minorities in economic activities besides their educational empowerment