“The State has no religion”: an Indian perspective

The Kashmir Valleyin the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir, is overwhelmingly Muslim. However, it is also home to the Kashmiri PanditsBrahmin Hindus; and I was alerted by a report in the Hindustan Times to an interesting case involving their interests.

Sanjay Tickoo, President of Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (the Kashmiri Pandit Struggle Committee), petitioned the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir against what he described as “uncouth attempts” being made by some Pandits ‒ some of them non-Kashmiri ‒ to change the status of Hindu religious buildings by creating third party interests and turning them into commercial units. He argued that the character of the secular Constitution required the state and its authorities to protect the religious sites. Continue reading