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True Lies
In UP, Muslim welfare talk is just maya
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, December 19
On the occasion of the Minority Rights Day today, the Uttar Pradesh Information and Public Relations Department issued advertisements in leading dailies highlighting 26 measures that the Mayawati government has taken for the welfare of minorities.

However, most of the welfare schemes listed are central schemes introduced under the Prime Minister’s 15-point programme or state schemes that are yet to take off like the establishment of an Arabic-Persian university in Lucknow.

In her government’s much-touted ‘sarvajan hitai, sarvajan sukhai’ motto, the Muslim “hitai and sukhai” appears to have been paid mere lip service, complain some Muslims leaders and bureaucrats even close to the ruling establishment.

The most obvious indicator is that of the 71 district magistrates and district police chiefs, not a single happens to be from the minority (Muslim) community - not even in the 21 Muslim-dominated districts.

Recently, the BSP sent six MPs to the Rajya Sabha and it did not have any Muslim representation. While one was a Brahmin, another was Vaishya and four were Dalits.

A senior police officer involved in the recruitment of the approximately 18,000 police constables during the Mulayam Singh Yadav admits that 14 per cent (about 7,778) of those recruited during the Samajwadi party government were Muslims. However, the Mayawati government, soon after assuming office, cancelled the entire recruitment process.

The dilution of the state minorities commission under the present BSP regime is perhaps the most illuminating example of how the interest of the Muslim community is being eroded by the Mayawati government, points out a former chairman of the commission..

The powers of this constitutional body, set up with the sole intention of providing speedy justice to the members of the minority community, has been completely undermined like never before. Earlier, the minority commission had a term of three years and had six members, of which three belonged to the Muslim community. The Mayawati government has increased the membership to 17 of which only three are Muslims. Hence, the major minority community in the state is now in a minority within the commission set up to look after its welfare.

Worst still, the tenure of the commission has been reduced to one year. “Members are now more like daily wagers than honorable members of a constitutional body”, commented an ex-chairman of the state minority commission.

Another sore point that is spoken in whispers amongst the bureaucrats belonging to the minority community is the manner in which a Muslim IAS officer was prevented from occupying the office of the chief secretary a few months ago.

After media reports, the senior most civil servant in the state (next only to the chief secretary) was hastily removed from his post. The media had reported a fashion show being organised in his official bungalow.

Incidentally, the IAS officers wives association had actively participated in the programme. The wives of most of the senior civil servants were present and even sashayed down the ramp in the so-called fashion show.

While the senior officer has since been reinstated, the unsavory episode has blemished his service record ensuring that he does not make it to the top post. It has left a section of civil servants from the minority community feeling cheated.

True, Mayawati had fielded 61 Muslim candidates during the 2007 Assembly polls in the state of which 24 managed to win. Still there is a growing resentment amongst the minorities who want more concrete evidence to establish that their welfare is part of Mayawati’s inclusive ‘sarvjan hitai, sarvjan sukhai’ government.



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