PUCL, Oxfam India’s Reports Expose Discrimination against Muslims in India

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While the PUCL report alleges that the Hijab ban in Karnataka has led to thousands of Muslim girls discontinuing their education, the Oxfam report says Muslims find it difficult to get jobs in India

Syed Ali Mujtaba | Clarion India

Two damning reports on the plight of Muslims in India may turn the heads of those who do activism for the Muslim cause in the country. One of the reports is from the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) while the other is from Oxfam India.  

While the PUCL report alleges that the Hijab ban in Karnataka has led to thousands of Muslim girls discontinuing their education, the Oxfam report says Muslims find it difficult to get jobs in India and even those who get a job are paid less salary as compared to their Hindu counterparts.

PUCL report on Hijab ban

The report by the PUCL has alleged that the prohibition on Hijab in Karnataka’s educational institutions has prevented thousands of school and college-going Muslim girls from pursuing education in the state. The report accused the Karnataka government of barring Muslim girls from wearing Hijab in educational institutions with a malicious intention to deprive them of education and keep them illiterate.

Consequently, the girl students are scared of attending classes due to the insecurity at educational institutions. The PUCL report says the security measures put in place in the educational institutions have made the Muslim girl students fearful of going to schools and colleges in the state.

So grave is the situation that Hindu boys have started ‘What’s-App group’ only to send threatening messages to Muslim girls to detest from wearing Hijab, the PUCL report said. Recounting their ordeal, some of the Muslim girls in Karnataka told the PUCL team that some Hindu boys harass them in public dubbing them as “O Hijabi” and “O Burkhawali”.

According to the PUCL report, several educational institutions have failed to protect these hapless students from such harassment and intimidation. The study quoted a student as saying: “They said that they wanted to punish us and kill us, and other similar threats.”

Another school girl was quoted by the report as saying, “When the Principal notices us, he taunts us with several mocking queries. He asks why we continue to wear the headscarf and asks us to remove it.”

“The human rights commission and minority commission should register suo moto complaints against the principals and CDCs (college development committees) for violating the fundamental rights of the concerned students and initiate actions at the earliest,” the PUCL report observed.

Oxfam India’s Report

Oxfam India’s ‘Discrimination Report 2022′ says discrimination against Muslims has increased in the past 16 years. The discrimination faced by Muslims in 2004-05 was 59.3 percent, which increased by 9%, to 68.3% discrimination in 2022.

The report also says that Muslims also face multidimensional challenges in accessing salaried jobs and income through self-employment as compared to non-Muslims.

In rural areas, the sharpest increase of 17% in unemployment was for Muslims as compared to non-Muslims during the first quarter of the COVID-19 pandemic making the rural Muslim unemployment rate 31.4 percent.

The report says 15.6 percent of the urban Muslim population aged 15 and above were engaged in regular salaried jobs whereas 23.3 percent of non-Muslims are in regular salaried jobs in 2019-20.

According to Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar, “It is found that inequality in religious categories is not just due to poor access to education or work experience, but because of social discrimination.”

“Muslims continue to face discrimination in accessing jobs, livelihoods, and agricultural credits,” he added.

Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba2007@gmail.com

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