The Independence Day speech of our respected Prime Minister is a valuable indicator of the policies of the Government and highlights what the political party in power considers paramount in its opinion.
We are a secular country and a democracy too. Our constitution provides the philosophical framework and executive and judicial mechanism to protect the rights of the citizens of our country in general.
Article 30 of the Constitution provides that all minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
Apart from this there is no significant constitutional provision in my knowledge that delineates specific approach to minority protection. However, it must be due to some very important reasons that our honourable Prime Minister has chosen to state so on an Independence Day speech.
I, after due thought have a request to make to the leaders of our country. In the light of this resolve on the part of the PM, kindly take up the issue of the minorities in Kashmir, i.e. the Kashmiri Pandits. The reason why the separatists have become so bold in demanding separation form India is this: our government could not protect the right of Kashmiri Pandits to live with peace in the ancestoral homes in the Kashmir Valley.
The Kashmiri Pandits indeed are a minority in Kashmir. They were inhabitants in Kashmir for ages and were forced to leave when terrorists threatened them with dire consequences and violence erupted in the valley with their homes and property burnt. They need protection and safe passage back to the valley and an atmosphere needs to be created to generate trust amongst them. I hope the Government of India (GOI) would work in the true spirit of secularism and take care of the sad plight of Kashmiri Pandits who have become homeless because of terrorist violence.
Once this crucial step towards normalcy of situation in Kashmir is taken up, the separatist forces would be forced to reconcile with the fact that the GOI is serious about ensuring the rights of its people irrespective of religion, and is particularly conscious about protecting the minorities, even if it is in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
I hope our honourable Prime Minister would pay heed to this logical corollary of his speech on August 15, 2010 from the ramparts of the historic Red Fort.