No jobs,Muslims only fobbed off in Bengal

The West Bengal government has often dismissed the Sachar committee report on the condition of Muslims in the state as an exaggeration.

Written by Shiv Sahay Singh | Kolkata | Published: February 11, 2009 2:16:03 am

An RTI query reveals that Muslims’ representation in Kolkata Police and the KMC is not even 10% despite they constituting 25% of the state’s population

The West Bengal government has often dismissed the Sachar committee report on the condition of Muslims in the state as an exaggeration. But data related to Muslim employees in two major government departments shows how abysmally low their representation is. The data was made available by the two organizations following an RTI query filed by a Kolkata-based NGO.

Even though Muslims in the state officially represent over 25 per cent of the population,the community does not even have a representation of 10 per cent of the workforce in the Kolkata Police (KP) and Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) ¿ two biggest government organizations.

The picture of Muslim women in government jobs is worse still,with their representation barely touching two per cent.

According to the information revealed by the Kolkata Police,the total number of employees in the force is 24,840 of which only 2,267 are Muslims,constituting a mere 9.13 per cent of the overall strength. Of a total of 24,840 employees in the Kolkata Police,only 414 are women,and only 12 of them (2.9 per cent approximately) are Muslims.

The figures from the KMC paint an even grimmer picture. The municipal body has only 1,555 Muslim employees in its workforce of 34,731. Of the 4556 women employees it has,only 136 are Muslims,comprising just 2.98 per cent.

“The statistics speaks for itself regarding the representation of minorities in the policing and public works,” said Sabeer Ahamed,who filed the RTI application.

The Sachar Committee report,which was tabled in November 2006,had pointed out the abysmally low percentage of Muslims in government services in West Bengal.

A further scrutiny of the data shows the number of Muslim employees in higher positions that comprise Group A and Group B is about 4.7 per cent. In the lower division (Group C and Group D),it’s about 1.8 per cent.

The data also shows that the situation has not improved since the Sachar committee placed its report in 2006. The state government had then said it would make amends in ensuring equal opportunities for the minorities in key areas like policing and public works.

Syed Shamshul Alam,the vice-chancellor of Alaih University,the first Muslim University in the state,blamed the low penetration of education among the Muslim community. Alam,who was the former head of department of mathematics at IIT Kharagpur,said,“In recent times,the state government has taken some measures in the area of education,like setting up universities for Muslims and better facilities at madrasas. But it would take 10 to 20 years before the results of these efforts are actually seen.”

“Statistics show there are more Muslims in jails than in government jobs. This is an alarming situation for the society. If the Sachar Committee report is accepted by Parliament,what is the point of negating it in West Bengal,” says A S Malihawadi,a Rajya Sabha MP from West Bengal and editor of Urdu daily,Azad Hind.

“There needs to be a political will to give Muslims a proportionate representation in government jobs.

Also,there is need for removing bureaucratic hurdles.

If the percentage of Muslims is as low as 3-4 per cent in certain departments,it means we have failed in setting up the secular credentials of a society as envisaged in our Constitution,” he said.

“You will have to compare what percentage of Muslims were in jobs in 1947 and then compare it with the figures in 1977,when the Left Front assumed power in Bengal,and the situation now. Then only one can criticize our government,” said Abduss Sattar,the minister for minority development and madrasa education.

“Earlier,no one kept track of such records,but of late we have been paying attention to it and the situation is certainly improving,” Sattar said.

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