It is reported that the Chairman, Minority Commission, Government of India, has suggested to the Jammu and Kashmir Government to constitute a Minority Commission, it is also reported that the JK Government has reacted positively to the suggestion. In this context I recall to my mind April 17,2007 when the then Chief Minister of the Jammu and Kashmir State, Ghulam Nabi Azad, had promised at the Easter function organized by the All Jammu and Kashmir Catholic Sabha that his Government was contemplating setting up of a Minority Commission in the State. Unfortunately, the promise has not been translated into reality till date.
Minority rights have gained greater visibility and relevance all over the country. The Jammu and Kashmir State is no exception to it being a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-linguistic and multi-cultural society. Diversity of all types is the very soul of the State. It is in this context that minority rights have assumed added significance in post-independence Jammu and Kashmir State. Though the State is predominantly Muslim, Hindus, Kashmiri Pandits, Sikhs, Christians and Buddhists are the minorities. The Constitution of India has given recognition to a number of languages in the Eighth Schedule and there are five religious groups which have been given the official status of National Minorities, namely, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsees. The framers of the Constitution bestowed considerable thought and attention upon the minority problem in all its facets and provided constitutional safeguards. Nothing of this nature is provided in the Constitution of the Jammu and Kashmir State. It is of interest to note that even the term “Secular” is absent from the Preamble of the JKState Constitution though every political leader parrots the term in his day to day utterances. Consequently, the progress of minorities in the State is beset with problems including those of prejudice and discrimination.
Therefore, for safeguarding the Minority Rights the Minority Commission for the State is a must.
Predhuman K Joseph Dhar,
All JK Catholic Sabha,