Kumbh Mela
Hindu priest holds oil lamp as performs evening prayers near banks of river Ganges ahead of "Kumbh Mela" in Allahabad

A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court seeking minority status for Hindus in at least eight states across the country.

The PIL states that Hindus in these eight states must be notified as members of a minority community and must be given benefits accordingly.

"According to the 2011 Census, Hindus are minority in eight states i.e. Lakshadweep (2.5 percent), Mizoram (2.75 percent), Nagaland (8.75 percent), Meghalaya (11.53 percent), J&K (28.44 percent), Arunachal Pradesh (29 percent), Manipur (31.39 percent) and Punjab (38.40 percent)," states the petition filed by Delhi BJP leader Ashwani Kumar Upadhyay.

The PIL adds that minority rights of Hindus in these states are being "siphoned off illegally and arbitrarily to the majority population because neither Central nor the state governments have notified Hindus as a 'minority' under Section 2(c) of National Commission for Minority Act."

Therefore, it argues, "Hindus are being deprived of their basic rights, guaranteed under Articles 25-30" of the Constitution.

Muslims are in majority in  Lakshdweep (96.20 percent) and Jammu and Kashmir (68.30 percent), and there is a significant population of them in Assam (34.20 percent), West Bengal (27.5 percent), Kerala (26.60 percent), Uttar Pradesh (19.30 percent) and Bihar (18 percent).

However they are still enjoying "minority" status in these areas, the PIL states, adding that the communities which are the real minorities in these regions are not getting their legitimate benefits.

"Christians are a majority in Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland, and there is a significant population [of them] in Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Kerala, Manipur, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, but they are treated as minority. Likewise, Sikhs are majority in Punjab and there is significant population in Delhi, Chandigarh and Haryana but they are also treated as minority," Upadhyay said in his plea.