इंडियन आवाज़     27 Jan 2023 07:38:00      انڈین آواز

PUCL and Oxfam reports allege Muslim discrimination in India

By Syed Ali Mujtaba

Two damming reports on the plight of Muslims in India have surfaced in recent days. One by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and the other by Oxfam India.

While the PUCL report alleges that the Hijab ban in Karnataka has led to thousands of Muslim girls discontinuing their education, the Oxfam report says Muslims find it difficult to get jobs in India and are paid less salary as compared to their Hindu counterparts.

PUCL report on Hijab ban

A report by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has alleged that the Hijab prohibition in Karnataka’s educational institutions has prevented thousands of school and college-going Muslim girls from pursuing education in the state.

The PUCL report alleges that the Karnataka government with malicious intention has bared Hijab in educational institutions so that Muslim girls do not study and remain illiterate.

The girl students are scared to attend classes due to the insecurity in educational institutions. The PUCL report says the security measures put in place in educational institutions have made Muslim girl students fearful of going to schools and colleges in Karnataka.

The situation is so grave that Hindu boys have made ‘What’s-App group’ to send threatening messages to Muslim girls to detest from wearing Hijab, the PUCL report said. Further, some Hindu boys have dubbed Muslim girls as “O Hijabi” and “O Burkhawali” and harassed them in public, the PUCL team was told by some Muslim girls in Karnataka.

According to the PUCL report, several educational institutions have failed to protect students from such harassment and intimidation. The study quoted a student as saying: “They said that they wanted to punish us and kill us, and other similar threats.”

The report quoted a school girl saying, “When the Principal notices us, he taunts us with several mocking queries. He asks why we continue to wear the headscarf and asks us to remove it” some Muslim girls told the PUCL team.

The PUCL report observed; “The human rights commission and minority commission should register suo-motu complaints against the Principals and CDCs [college development committees] for violating the fundamental rights of the concerned students and initiate actions at the earliest.”

Oxfam India’s Report

Oxfam’s India Discrimination Report 2022,’ says, discrimination against Muslims has increased in the past 16 years. The discrimination faced by Muslims in 2004-05 was 59.3 percent, which increased by 9%, to 68.3% discrimination in 2022.

The report also says that Muslims also face multidimensional challenges in accessing salaried jobs and income through self-employment as compared to non-Muslims.

In rural areas, the sharpest increase of 17% in unemployment was for Muslims as compared to non-Muslims during the first quarter of the COVID-19 pandemic making the rural Muslim unemployment rate 31.4%.

The report says; 15.6% of the urban Muslim population aged 15 and above were engaged in regular salaried jobs whereas 23.3% of non-Muslims are in regular salaried jobs in 2019-20.

According to the CEO of Oxfam India Amitabh Behar; “it is found that inequality in religious categories is not just due to poor access to education or work experience but because of social discrimination.”

“Muslims continue to face discrimination in accessing jobs, livelihoods, and agricultural credits,” he adds.

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