Saturday, August 2, 2008

Muslims a minority in JK services

Most HODs non-Muslims; no Muslim heads vital departments of Home, Finance and Planning, Health, Industry & Works


NASEER A GANAI
While the Sachar Committee report has painted a dismal picture of the condition of Indian Muslims, the plight of the community in Jammu and Kashmir, according to senior government officials is no better. Muslims figure at bottom when it comes to their share in the state administration. And to top it, they’re a distant minority in the top bureaucratic positions.
Official sources said out of 63 IAS officers–both direct and inducted–30 are Muslims, 28 Hindus, three Sikhs and two Buddhists. Muslim representation in the present top bureaucratic line up is zero. Most of the Financial Commissioners and Principal Secretaries of the state happen to be non-Muslims. No Muslim bureaucrat heads important departments like Home, Finance and Planning, Health, Industry, and Works. The only senior-most Muslim IAS officers are Iqbal Khandey and Khurshid Ahmed Ganai. While Ladakh region has had its first Chief Secretary in the shape of the incumbent C Phunsong, only eight of the 24 CS’ since 1947 were Muslims.
Situation in the police department is worse.
Since 1914, when the post of J&K police chief was first created by the then Maharaja of Kashmir, the state had only two Muslim police chiefs. In fact from 1914 to 1979, no police chief was a Muslim. The situation was no different till last year. The state’s seven DGPs and five ADGP rank officers are non-Muslims and only four of 15 IGP ranks are Muslims.
And down the line in police, there’re only six Muslims among the 15 DIGs and only 26 among 87 SSPs. Muslims form less than one-third of the IPS officers. Out of 111 IPS officers, only 33 are Muslims who include an IPS officer of Bihar cadre, Abdul Gani Mir who was repatriated to the state last year.
Though the state’s civil service, the Kashmir Administrative Services (KAS) shows somewhat different picture, it won’t remain the same for long. Out of 343 officers, 217 are Muslims. But if the last two KAS results are anything to go by, this will also change soon.
Muslims form a small percentage of the candidates who passed the two KAS exams held in the past five years. In 2001, for example, only 80 out of the 208 successful candidates were Muslims. Similarly in 2004, of a total of 137 successful candidates only 62 were Muslims.
The question is not only how many Muslims are there at higher position but how many are there from the Jammu and Kashmir state at the decision making level. Of course the Chief Secretary is from Ladakh but what about the rest of the top-level bureaucracy?
Top two officers presently holding principal secretary position are non-locals. They are Ajit Kumar and SB Mathur. The financial commissioner BR Singh and Principal Secretary Agriculture Satinder Singh too are non-locals. Manu Des Lupin, Additional Secretary Agriculture, Government of India, is on deputation in the state, and Sham Singh Kupur, presently Principal Secretary Planning is also a non- state subject.
AS Sidhu, Samuel Vergese, Madav Lal, Babu Lal Navesh, Pankaj Jain, Dr Arun Kumar, Sonali Kumar, and PG Dharchakerverty are Principal Secretaries heading different departments. They are all non-state subjects.
Now have a look at the Commissioner Secretaries who are from the state: Brij Raj Sharma, Promod Jain, Atul Dulu, Basharat Ahmad Dhar, Devender Nagrotra, and Mehbood Iqbal. The number of Commissioner Secretaries from other parts of India is 10. They are: KB Agarwal, BB Vyas, Lokesh Jha, Suresh Kumar, Pradeep Tripathi, Sudesh Panday, Sandeer Naik, Arun Kumar Malhotra, Umang Narola, and RK Gowel.
The non-local Secretaries are: Shant Munu, Shailendra Kumar, Vipul Pathak, AK Parimar, and Deeraj Gupta.
However, some officials of the Public Service Commission, attribute the growing low percentage of candidates from Valley in administrative services to “lack of interest” among the Valley candidates in the KAS examinations. A senior PSC official said that in July 2005 some 7000 candidates from Valley appeared for the preliminary examination. From Jammu, 11,000 appeared. Some even attribute low percentage of Muslims in government services to “lack of Muslim educated class” in the state.
But the opinion runs contrary to the findings of the Sachar Committee report which paints an encouraging picture of the educational status of the Valley Muslims.
According to the report, the primary class enrolment of Muslim children exceeded 5.3 lakh last year with the boy-girl ratio a healthy 50.3: 49.7. The number of Muslim male literates has increased by 25 percent and the women by 23 percent over the past two decades, revealed the Sachar Committee findings.
Besides, Kashmir produces more than 16,000 Muslim graduates every year and the number of postgraduates crosses 3,000 annually. The figure for female students pursuing higher education is also encouraging. Of the 57,000 students enrolled in colleges, more than 25,000 are girls.
On the contrary, despite the hullabaloo about the proliferation of Islamic seminaries across the Valley, only 2691 students–950 of them girls—are enrolled in the Darul Ulooms.
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