SM Fasiullah & Afroz Alam Sahil for BeyondHeadlines
India’s ambitious politician Narendra Modi has highlighted the findings of the Sachar Committee Report and compared the figures of the socio-economic conditions of Muslims in Bihar and Gujarat in Hunkar Rally in Purnia, Bihar to woo Muslim vote bank in the state.
No wonder if he’s quoting from Congress (PM) constituted committee’s report. The actual point is: perhaps the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) prime ministerial candidate forgot that his Gujarat government had filed an affidavit in Supreme Court terming the Sachar Committee report “unconstitutional”.
From the report, he quoted that 45% of Muslims in Bihar’s urban areas were poor when compared to Gujarat’s 24%. In rural areas, he highlighted that the figures for Bihar stood at 38%, against 7% in Gujarat. The actual figure for Bihar was 33% instead of 38% as per the report. Perchance Mr. Modi knows this: New York Times quoted a government report to show that Gujarat Muslims were poorer than Muslims in India as a whole in 2009 and 2010.
While comparing Bihar Muslims with Muslims in Gujarat, Mr. Modi blanked out that as per 2001 census Bihar had 15.9% Muslims but Gujarat had just 9.1%. And world knows what happened to Gujarat Muslims in 2002.
The very Sachar report from which Mr. Modi quoted gives a complete picture of Muslims that the BJP PM candidate simply disregarded or did not prefer to present before public. Below are those statistics which public should know.
Muslims in Gujarat:
Poverty: The Sachar report shows that Muslims in Gujarat are just over SC/STs in terms of poverty, while they are far behind OBCs and Hindus. The New York Times editorial also pointed out that there’s no “big improvement” and poverty has “substantially declined” in 2011-2012 per newer available data.
Employment: As per Sachar report only 5.4% Muslims are employed in government services, while Bihar has robust 11.2%.
Waqf Properties: Gujarat has 22,485 waqf properties, whose benefits are likely enjoyed by the state government, which was reluctant to provide detail information when sought through RTI. As per available information, Gujarat now has only 11,592 waqf properties. Where are the remaining nearly 11,000 properties gone? Modi alone can answer this as he’s been ruling the state even before Sachar report was released. Whereas in Bihar, there were 2,548 waqf properties as per government records, slightly higher than 2,459 per Sachar report. And these properties are generating substantial revenue.
Prisoners: Modi’s Gujarat tops in keeping young Muslims behind bars as per Sachar report. Rajender Sachar himself told UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav that most of the Muslim youngsters behind bars in Gujarat are from Uttar Pradesh. BeyondHeadlines possesses a 2012 report from National Crime Record Bureau that shows 932 Muslims were convicted in 2012, which was 24% of total prisoners’ population. In the same year, 151 Muslims were detained, which is 30% of jail population.
Government Schools: Modi talked about literacy in his speech. The condition of schools in his ‘vibrant Gujarat’ is not better than Kerala or any other Industrialist state. What’s being taught in school is a matter of intellectual cum political debate.
Development Programs: Gujarat failed in implementing Prime Minister’s 15-point program. Minority students could not benefit from scholarship scheme. What could be worse than this?
Now nine years have passed since Sachar Report came out and the data analyzed was not latest than 2005. There could have been various developments between 2005 and 2014, particularly for Muslim minorities. What happened to Muslims’ socio-economic status and population growth rate during these nine years in Gujarat? There’re many such questions that Modi as chief minister of Gujarat must answer to public. But the treatment meted out to Kejriwal who went to check Gujarat development and face Modi indicates getting answer from Modi is not layman’s cup of tea.
At least, Narendra Modi should answer to his brother Prahlad Modi, who came out to express his discontent against irregularities of the state government in delivering basic food items to people. He said that large scale fraud in Gujarat is being carried out in the government’s fair price shops at the cost of the poor.