No one should be discriminated based on religion

  • Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 24, 2015 23:28 IST

A Mumbai-based export house’s

refusal to consider a job application

on grounds of the petitioner being a Muslim shows such prejudices are no longer restricted to the outliers of our society.

More alarming still, this has happened in Mumbai, a city much liked for its cosmopolitanism. This incident is suggestive of many implications, all of which are equally pernicious.

First, it is the inhumanity of an organisation that can tell a youngster that only ‘non-Muslims’ are considered for a job. The exporter is now trying to take shelter behind the excuse that it was a mistake by a junior member of the human resources department, but such explanations simply won’t wash.

Even if it is a case of prejudice on the part of a person, she or he could not have displayed such gumption without the blessings of at least some of the higher staff.

This is not the end of the matter. The organisation has also to ponder over how far removed it is from a basic knowledge of our laws and the Constitution.

Each of our laws, and all of which have their sanction in the Constitution, makes it very specific that no person can be discriminated against on grounds of caste, religion, language, gender, etc.

If this is the level of its civility, one wonders what role the outfit can play in personnel development or corporate social responsibility, which it is obliged by law to do because its revenue is about Rs 6,000 crore.

The matter becomes all the more surprising when one considers the fact that the organisation has a wide exposure with locations in Hong Kong, New York and Antwerp.

It is true we have reservations for the Dalits and other backward classes in government. It is also true that the previous government at the Centre had a policy of nudging the private sector to have an eye on appointing people of under-privileged communities.

But reservations are one thing, and denying jobs on religious grounds is another.

The Maharashtra government has done well to start an investigation into this and that should at least serve as a deterrent.

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