News over the results of a new report announced to be released this month on the Social, Economic and Educational Status of Muslims in India. The report is announced to offer data on the levels of social exclusion of Muslims in India (including education), and to content a strong case on the high levels of social, political and economic exclusion base on religion in India.

(From Inter Press Service News Agency by Praful Bidwai , 11.07.06)

Media stories based on official data being gathered by a government-appointed committee have shockingly disclosed that Muslims, India’s largest religious minority, face systematic exclusion and serious discrimination at multiple levels.

Over the past fortnight, various Indian newspapers and television channels have run reports quoting statistics being collated by the Prime Minister’s High-Level Committee on the Social, Economic and Educational Status of Muslims, chaired by a former High Court judge, Rajinder Sachar(…..)

[Some critical findings in the report include:]

  • Muslims form 13.4 percent of India’s population of a billion plus people, but are seriously under-represented in schools, universities, government jobs and Parliament. They typically claim a share of only 4 to 6 percent in state employment.
  • In some respects, Muslims compare unfavourably even with Dalits (officially called Scheduled Castes), India’s former untouchables, who have suffered systematic, cruel discrimination for centuries at the hands of upper-caste Hindus.
  • Muslims fare far worse than the lower and middle orders of the caste hierarchy, officially called Other Backward Classes (OBCs), in education, employment, poverty levels and landholding. (…)
    • In the rural areas, just 68 percent of Muslim girls are at school, compared to 72 percent of Dalit girls and 80 percent of others.
    • only 80 percent of urban Muslim boys are enrolled in schools, compared to 90 percent of Dalits and 95 percent of others. (Earlier, in 1965, both Muslims and Dalits had 72 percent of their urban children enrolled in schools.) (…)

“This tears to shreds the claim that India is successfully overcoming the inter-religious divide and equitably assimilating Muslims”, says Rajiv Bhargava, a political theorist attached to the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in Delhi. (read more here)

(From Adkronos International-AKI, 10.26.06)

(…)The Sachar committee’s had been constituted in March last year for a term of 15 months, which expired in June. It was given an extension till October. Justice Sachar, when contacted, said that the term had now been extended till November, and that the October date that had incidentally been printed in all newspapers at the time was a “mistake.”(read more here)