An official RTI report quoted by Milli Gazette, an influential fortnightly newspaper highlighting issues of the minority community has stirred the hornets’ nest with its revelation that the Ministry of AYUSH does not recruit Muslims for its jobs. However, Shripad Naik, the AYUSH minister was quick to refute the report by saying that it is an attempt to defame the government and he will enquire into it.
The admission by the ministry came in response to a series of RTI filed by journalist Pushp Sharma. He had earlier sought the number of Muslim yoga teachers and trainers hired for foreign assignments during the first World Yoga Day on June 21, 2015. And the ministry was quoted as saying, “As per government policy – No Muslim candidate was invited, selected or sent abroad.”
The ministry said that 711 Muslims had applied for the short-term overseas assignment as yoga trainers though none was selected. A list of 26 selected trainers, all Hindus, was also provided by the ministry. The ministry also rejected till October 2015, the applications of 3,841 Muslim candidates who had applied to be yoga trainers, apart from the yoga day assignments outside the country.
The online version of the Milli Gazette report also carried images of the RTI replies. In stinging comments at the end of the report, it says, “Here we have for the first time in the life of this government, a written, blunt RTI reply in our hands which unashamedly says that it’s Modi government policy to not recruit Muslims in government jobs.”
The Opposition already accuses Modi government of pursuing an overtly anti-minority agenda and of failing to reign in fringe groups from targeting minority institutions.