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Are Indian citizens communal to the country's Muslim residents?
Mumbai, which is known as the film city sees a real life drama when the appointment of Mumbai Commissioner was done. As the Mumbai gets its new Police Commissioner in the form of Rakesh Maria, an IPS and former ATS chief, a controversy emerged out. It has been reported that there were three names that were taken into the consideration by Police Establishment Board, Javed Ahmed and Vijay Kamble both IPS officers, along with Rakesh Maria. While a few initial media reports suggested that Javed Ahmed will be handed the position, at last moment Maria emerged as the winner for the position of Comissioner of Mumbai.

Javed Ahmad (1979 IPS batch) and Vijay Kamble (1980 IPS batch) are fuming that Maria, who is from a junior batch (1981) was given charge. Mr. Kamble even threatened to resign from the department in protest. He told the media that the state had given him medals and he was put on side postings, and yet, he did a good job. If he deserved to get medals, why not the post of commissioner, he questioned.

Javed Ahmed’s appointment had been under consideration from early 2013. In fact a Mumbai Mirror report confirmed from its internal sources that the 1980 batch IPS officer is the top choice for the position. But in a last minute twist Rakesh Maria was given the position. While Mr. Ahmed seems to be heartbroken and have called the appointment ‘unfair’ and media speculates that he will quit job. Mr. Ahmed's rejection also gave rise to speculation of he being the victim of a communal discrimination.

India, is currently, facing a lot of criticism from various sector for a section of mainstream population being racist against its North Eastern citizens. Following the death of Nido Taniam in the capital city of the country, the debate intensified over the past few days. In this background, Mr. Ahmed's rejection from the post of Mumbai Comissioner brings out the accusation of the citizens being communal too.

To evaluate whether the debate hold any merit, we tried asking various Muslim citizens in the country about whether they deem Mr. Ahmed's rejection unfair and whether they face discrimination in daily life due to their religion. Below is an excerpt of what they say:

Qamar AghaQamar Agha, Senior Journalist says, “ There are two important aspect to this (i) Discrimination and (ii) Competition. I think that Muslims were behind in competition, especially when it came to competing for the top post. And this lack in competitive mindset was born out of discrimination. Not only Muslims but I think that most of the minority communities in India think that they are deprived from the top Govt. Post. But that is a general mindset. Why that foster, how we can remove it - we have to think. Personally I feel India has many Muslims who have been to the top post in the country like Hamid Ansari as VP, A.P.J Abdul Kalam as President and many other Muslim who hold top post in the Govt. offices." 

Abdul Hameed NomaniAbdul Hameed Nomani, spokesperson Jamiat ulema i Hind says “It's clear that there is discrimination as far as a Muslim candidate is concerned for the top post. Not only at Govt. post but also at local level. Take for example take the cases of celebrities like Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar etc. They do not represent Muslim Community but still they feel that discrimination is done against them whether in buying houses, property, or anything else, cause they bear a Muslim name. I am not saying that every Muslim is discriminated against or every Indian citizen is communal but there is a handful of 5-10% people who do the discrimination, just like the local goons who spread terror among local people. However that said, appointing a Muslim top official at Govt. post doesn't really do much help to the community. In most cases such appointments are done in the garb of secularism and done to gain political mileage. If you really care about Muslims and if you are really secular, then you should try to stop discrimination at grassroot level first”.

Mohd. Badrul AlamMohd. Badrul Alam, Head, Political Science Department, Jamia Milliya Islamiya, says “ Yes there is discrimination against us in the Indian society. There have been reports about people complaining about being discriminated in the Indian Army, or in top positions of RAW or IB. Do you hear success stories of Muslims in these field? There is some kind of unwritten criteria on basis of which Muslims are still discriminated in India. We have read reports of stars like Shabana Azmi or Shahrukh Khan complaining  of discrimination in their personal life due to the religion they belong. Hence we cannot hide away from the fact that in India muslims do get discriminated for their religion”

Dr. Arshi Khan, Associate Professor, Political Science, AMU says “ Discrimination is reality because of social composition dominance of the particular community at particular level. This issue is not new, its kind of everywhere. Democracy that we have, its been occupied by the Govt. from the majority community from a very long time. I think one one the remedy for this is to go for the alternative voting system, which are used by more than 60 countries in the world”.

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