India Muslims Most Marginalized: Report

Singh called the information given in the report "authentic, comprehensive and updated."

Singh called the information given in the report “authentic, comprehensive and updated.”

NEW DELHI — India’s Muslims are lagging behind and face more poverty, illiteracy and unemployment than any other community in the country, Pakistan’s Daily Times newspaper reported Saturday, November 18, citing an Indian government report.

“The community is relatively poor, more illiterate, has lower access to education, lower representation in public and private sector jobs, and lower availability of bank credit for self-employment,” said the report compiled by retired chief justice of Delhi High Court Rajindar Sachar.

The report, based on research by a high level committee appointed by Prime Minister premier Manmohan Singh, is part of a campaign aimed at bridging the gap between the country’s majority Hindus and its minority Muslim population.

“In urban areas, the community mostly lives in slums characterized by poor municipal infrastructure. However, there is considerable variation in the condition of the Muslim community across states and regions,” the report said.

The report said Muslims were educationally and economic backward way behind even lowest Hindu castes, stressing the need for programs to address the yawning gap.

The prime minister called the information given in the report “authentic, comprehensive and updated,” the paper said.

The report found that 94.9% below poverty line (BPL) Muslim families in rural areas do not receive free food grains; and 60.2% of Muslims do not have any land in rural areas.

Just 2.1% of Muslim farmers have tractors and a dismal 1% own hand pumps, it said.

Only 3.2% of Muslims also get subsidized loans and just 1.9% of the community benefits from the government subsidized food programs.

On education, the report showed that a galloping 60% of Muslims in urban areas have never attended schools, while only 0.8% of Muslims in rural areas are graduates.

In urban areas, only 3.1% of the Muslims are graduates.

Political Gains

“The Congress raised minority issues to attract voters, but practically did nothing for the minorities,” said Jaitley.

The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), one of the two major national political parties in India, accused the prime minister and his party of paying lip service to the minority problems and demanded them to translate their words into action.

It further accused the government of trying to achieve some political gains by focusing on the minority issues.

“The Congress raised minority issues to attract voters, but practically did nothing for the minorities,” BJP General Secretary Arun Jaitley told a press conference.

In recent months, Singh has urged regional political leaders to provide better access to education for Muslims as well as recruit more into police and intelligence agencies to help counter a growing sense of insecurity in the community.

Muslims account for 140 million of India’s 1.1 billion people, the world’s third-largest Islamic population after those of Indonesia and Pakistan.

Although India’s secular constitution promises equal rights and opportunities to all communities, Muslims have traditionally registered lower educational levels and, as a consequence, higher unemployment rates than Hindus. source