Monday 21st Jan 2019
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Discrimination in Democracy

Editorial

When India started its march on the road of self-governance, it chose democracy and justice as its guiding principles. It has been enshrined in our Constitution that we will aspire to secure social, economic and political justice for all our citizens.

Unfortunately, injustice and discrimination has been in Indian blood from times immemorial, and sadly it has been either sanctioned by old religious texts or is based on their wrong interpretations.

After independence, the Muslims, who are one-sixth of population, have been the chosen victims of this policy. The Sachar Committee Report has laid bare this discrimination and the resultant deprivation heaped upon the Muslim community. Even otherwise it has been a known fact in spite of its denial by communal-minded politicians.

A recent study commissioned by the Maharashtra Minority Commission has brought out that in the second largest state of India, where Muslims are about 11 per cent of population, their representation is abysmally low. Five MLAs, 11 MLCs, two IAS officers and four IPS officers are to be found in the higher echelons of power in the state.

Muslim infant mortality among urban areas is 38 per cent while it is 28 per cent for Hindus. Out of every 1000 Muslim households only 260 have cultivable land while same figure for Hindus is 546. In every state you will come across the same sad situation. Nobody is bothered about this gross injustice, neither political parties nor social scientists nor opinion makers and journalists. Their deprivation in Parliament and legislative assemblies is around 30 to 50 per cent. No democrat is seen to be concerned about it.

A few days ago, responding to his voice of conscience, our Minister for Minority Affairs, Mr. Rahman Khan spoke out that it is open violation of Constitution to keep innocent Muslim youth behind bars for years together. He was commenting on incarceration of hundreds of Muslim youth for concocted charges or even without being charge-sheeted. He also made the shameful revelation that welfare schemes for minority areas are not being implemented properly. He strongly criticised the policy of exaggerated reports based on jugglery of statistics. He quoted an example that on his investigation he found that out of the claimed provision of 60,000 houses to Muslim minority under Indira Aawas Yojna, actually not even a few houses were provided.

This continued discrimination and deprivation is breeding anger and frustration in the Muslim community. In the larger interest of upholding democratic values and protecting human rights the Government as well as well-wishers of democracy must wage a war against narrow-mindedness and injustice and see to it that every deprived citizen gets his due otherwise our democracy will remain pseudo and our claims of promotion of justice will be regarded as false and fictitious.



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