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Religious Discrimination and Human Rights Abuse is Commonplace in India

Religious Discrimination and Human Rights Abuse is Commonplace in India

A Press Release from the Indian Muslim Federation-UK for your attention.
August 28, 2001

Indian Muslims Tell the UN Conference

Discrimination against Muslims and denial of constitutional and human rights to them is commonplace in India, United Nation's World Conference on Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and related Intolerance has been told in Durban today.

"In spite of constitutional guarantee of the right to equality and non-discrimination, there is no institutional mechanism for the study and monitoring of discrimination which is endemic in caste-based hierarchical Indian society." Claims a report presented by the London based Indian Muslim Federation (IMF), a non-governmental organisation.

According to the report even, "The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has not assigned any priority to right to equality and non- discrimination becoming a reality...It is symptomatic that in the NHRC...the Muslim presence is almost nil."

The report on "Intolerance And Discrimination Against Muslims as A Religious Minority in India" claims that even the basic right provided by the Indian constitution to minorities to conserve and promote their language is discretionary and not mandatory.  As a result the enjoyment of this right remains, "a teasing illusion" for the speakers of Urdu language, predominantly Muslims in the north and western and certain parts of south India.

The 20 page report, prepared on behalf of the IMF by an Indian human rights activist Professor lqbal Ahmed Ansari, provides a catalogue of a perpetual unwritten policy of discrimination and suppression of Muslims adopted by the Indian government under almost all prime ministers since 1947.

"The constitutional safeguards for political and economic rights of minorities which were provided in the Draft Constitution (1947-49) were dropped with the assurance that majority would be fair and generous to minorities. These promises remain unfulfilled as the representation of Muslims from the first to the present elected House of People (Lok Sabha) is about half of what their population (12%+) requires.  In public services Muslim representation is 2-4%..."  It adds.

"While the figures on marginally higher rate of growth of Muslims are officially published by the Registrar General of India, under its series on Religion and discussed with great fanfare, their rate of illiteracy and poverty etc. is hidden from public glare.  Strangely such a policy is supposedly based on the principle of secularism."

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