Jammu: Hindu community might be identified as a minority community in Jammu and Kashmir but the government sponsored aids and other benefits like scholarship for the students of this community are being pocketed by the Muslims who are in majority in the state. When asked, the state Social Welfare Minister Sakina Ittoo said that the state government was acting as per the guidelines of the Centre.

During question hour in the state assembly, Jammu East BJP MLA Ashok Khajuria sought to know the criteria for distributing scholarship to the post matriculation students. Citing the guidelines set by the Central government on the distribution of scholarships, the Social Welfare Minister replied, “According to the state government’s scheme the Pahari speaking students who hail from the families with annual income upto Rs 2 lakh per year can also claim the scholarships. Students of the Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Bodh and Parsi communities who have scored atleast 50 percent and their families’ annual income is not more that Rs 2 lakh, are also the beneficiaries of the scheme.”

While taking about the ‘Merit-cum-means’ scheme, Itoo added, “The scholarship is meant for the students of Muslim, Sikh, Christain, Bodhh and Parsi communities who are pursuing professional courses.”

When Itoo mentioned the Muslim community as a minority community, Khajuria hit back and said, “Kindly tell us whether the Hindu community which is a minority community in the state is getting the benefits of scholarship meant for the minorities. Muslims are in majority in the state, why they are being mentioned among the beneficiaries of the schemes meant for the minorities?”

Reacting to Khajuria’s comments, Itoo said, “The state government is working as per the norms set by the Central government.”