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Discrimination and partiality against Muslims
By Arif Aziz

The problem that has most adversely affected the Muslim of India after Independence is their representation in government services which, as a result of reduction day by day, is nearing zero point.

Though under Articles 15 and 16 (equal opportunity) or under Article 20 providing for equality and safety before law, it is not easy to prove discrimination in this connection, but statistics are witness to the fact that the number of Muslim minority in public services, including public sector industries, is continuously shrinking. In central government where maximum concessions and privileges are expected, average representation of Muslims is in no case more than two or three percent. In states also their ratio has virtually become nil as a result of continuous reduction. But in spite of all this neither the Muslim leadership has the guts to invite the attention of existing governments against this injustice nor the governments feel the necessity of compiling facts and figures in this connection and review the seriousness of the situation. A survey on the economic and educational problems of the minorities of India was undertaken lead by Dr Gopal Krishna twenty-eight years ago on the instructions of Home Ministry after Ahmedabad riots which revealed the discouraging fact that in every field of life the standard of Muslims is getting lower and lower day by day. The survey also revealed that the social role and contribution of Muslims, their economic condition, representation in national affairs, level of income, standard of saving and educational achievements and performances etc are going down to the distressing level.

Though the government had promised immediate action on this report, it was not even presented in the Parliament for years, taking action thereon is a far cry. The report was no doubt brought out but no action was taken on its recommendations. Same was the fate of the report submitted by a former secretary of Minorities Commission, N.C. Saxena to the commission probably in 1983 regarding educational backwardness of Muslims and their representation in government services. Towards the end of his report, he had made some recommendations for the removal of educational and economic backwardness of Muslims.

The statistics given in this report are very much disappointing. The representation of Muslims in IAS and IPS is evident from the following statistics.

In 1960 the number of IAS officers was 2216 out of which there were only 103 Muslims i.e., 4.65 percent. In 1964 total number of above-mentioned officers was 3392 out of which Muslims were only 105 i.e., 3.09 percent. In 1981 total number was 3882 of which Muslims were 116 or 2.99 percent. In IPS the condition was even worse. In 1960 total number of IPS officers was 1086 of which Muslims were only 48 i.e. 4.05 percent. In 1974 total number was 1661 of which Muslims were only 53 or 3.19 percent and in 1981 total number was 1753 of which Muslims were 50 i.e., 2.85 percent.

Further, according to a survey of Home Ministry conducted much earlier, a very large majority of Muslims i.e., 57 percent had an average of total monthly income of Rs. 250 whereas among non-Muslims, the persons having this much income formed 44.5 percent. Similarly, number of Muslims having a monthly income between Rs. 251 and Rs. 700 was 29.7 percent and that of non-Muslims was 25.9 percent, Muslims having an income of more than Rs. 701 per month formed 13.2 percent and non-Muslims in this group formed 29.6 percent.

These surveys and statistics are about 15-16 years old. The increase in their backwardness ever since has rendered them even lower than ‘Dalits’. Unless some new and extraordinary schemes and projects are introduced for them, there appears to be no hope for the improvement of their overall conditions. The ruling Vajpayee government at the centre, in spite of all its claims for doing justice to the minorities, is a silent spectator of this situation. One may very well put to the government the question as to what steps are being taken by his government to remove the ever-increasing backwardness of Muslims and to improve their lot. What action plan has it prepared for all-round development of Muslims? If not prepared so far, why?

This is the treatment meted out by the government to the largest majority of the country whose every individual, according to government statistics, is the eighth citizen of the country and whose population is in no way less than fifteen crores. In spite of all this, neither this community is getting its due shares in the governmental system of the country nor the central as well as the state governments are interested in providing these to this community and improving its lot. What else can be the example of discrimination and partiality against any minority in national life?

(Translated from Urdu)q

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