The decision by the government to provide pre-recruitment training to students of the minority community to help them clear police entrance exams in only 14 districts of Maharashtra has been questioned by activists, who have demanded that the scheme should cover the entire state.
“All districts should provide coaching to minority students. However, of the 36 districts, training will be provided this year only in 14 districts where the Muslim population is less,” said former minority commission chairman Naseem Siddiqui.
The said scheme has been in operation in Maharashtra since 2009 and was implemented as part of the Prime Minister’s 15-point programme for minorities. The scheme entails providing training to youth from the minority community to crack the written and physical examinations of police entrance exams.
These training programmes are run by NGOs identified by the government, which spends a cumulative Rs 1.5 crore every year to run such centres in all the 36 districts.
For the year 2020-21, however, only 14 such training centres will be set up in Wardha, Gadchiroli, Amravati, Nanded, Jalna, Pune, Yuvatmal, Parbhani, Solapur, Aurangabad, Buldhan, Nashik, Beed and Akola. For the year 2019-20, too, 12 districts had been identified.
“Most NGOs that have been tasked with running these programmes are not run by members of the minority community. The state needs to ensure that NGOs run by minorities are given a chance to run these programmes to increase their efficiency,” social activist M A Khalid said.
State minority development department officials said that the districts were selected based on the interest shown by NGOs to run the programme. “An advertisement was issued and those who responded and met the requisite requirements were asked to run this programme. All norms were followed while identifying these NGOs,” a senior official said.
While the government has stopped providing data on the religious composition of the police force since 2014, the National Crime Records Bureau records for 2014 shows that Muslims make up only 3.81 per cent of Maharashtra’s police force.
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