The newly elected National Commission of Minorities (NCM) chairman Gayorul Hasan Rizvi has said that Kashmiri Pandits should be given minority status in the country if the definition of minorities needs a relook. Rizvi, who was appointed as the NCM chairman on May 26, has also said that he will take up the issue with the Centre. During his conversation with Indian Express, Rizvi had said, “If the definition of minorities has to be relooked at, it is my opinion that Kashmiri Pandits should be the first people to be accorded that status.”
“When minorities in the entire country have that status, and privileges and opportunities that come with it, why should Kashmiri Pandits, who are a minority in their home state, be left out? It is something that Parliament will have to decide, but I will definitely raise the matter in the appropriate forum,” he added.
The former national general-secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) minority morcha also said that he was conscious of the fact that Article 370 keeps Jammu and Kashmir outside the purview of the NCM. “Leh has the maximum number of Buddhists, and yet the Commission can do nothing about Kashmir. There is no point trying to change that,” he told Indian Express.
“But as far as Pandits are concerned, at least by giving minority status, we can ensure their rights here, in Delhi,” he added further.
After the news of several attacks by self-proclaimed cow vigilantes on cattle traders in his home state, Uttar Pradesh, Rizvi said that he had taken up the issue with both UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath and governor Ram Naik.
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“There is no insecurity (among minorities) but a few sporadic incidents have affected people’s perception. In case there is a lack of security perceived by minorities in any state, the commission will raise the issue with the CM and administration concerned,” Rizvi said.
“That is why I met the UP CM on June 2. I told him that there is a need to crack down on criminals who, in the garb of gaurakshaks (cow vigilantes), are spreading terror and giving the government a bad name,” Rizvi said adding that Adityanath has taken the issue seriously.