The National Commission for Minorities Act is not extended to the state due to its special constitutional status and, official sources said, minority status for the Pandits would first require it to make suitable recommendation to the Centre.

"I had agreed with the demand of Pandits community and discussed it with Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. He had responded favourably. But it has not worked out so far," former National Commission for Minorities Chairman Wajahat Habibullah said.

Sikhs, incidentally, also do not enjoy minority status in the state for the same reason.

Groups representing the Bahais and Kashmiri Pandits had recently met Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla, seeking acceptance of their long-standing demand that they be accorded minority status in the state.

Things are a less complicated for Bahais who are a distinct faith spread across the country.

The sources said the ministry is looking at their demand "sympathetically".

They have argued that they shound be given the recognition after Jains were accorded minority status by the UPA government before Lok Sabha polls.

Farida Wahidi, former director, Bahais Office of Public Affairs, said their community wants the minority status for "succour, honour and recognition" of their faith by the Government.

The Centre has so far given minority status to Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and Jains.

Latest News from State News Desk