Ayush minister rejects RTI response of no-Muslim hire policy

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 13, 2016 13:23 IST
The Prime Minister engages in breathing exercises during last year’s World Yoga Day. (HT Photo)

The ministry of AYUSH has denied stating in a right to information reply that it has a policy not to hire Muslim yoga teachers.

A freelance journalist working for Milli Gazette, India’s oldest Muslim community journal, had published a story based on a right-to-information question regarding recruitment of yoga teachers for postings abroad.

The reply, according to the journal’s story, said 3,481 Muslim candidates applied for the job but none was selected because “as per government policy – no Muslim candidate was invited, selected or sent abroad”.

The minister in charge of AYUSH, Sripad Naik, called the story “bogus” and an “attempt to defame us”.

The alleged admission by the ministry – formed to promote ayurveda, yoga, naturopathy, unani, siddha and homeopathy – came in response to a series of RTI applications by journalist Pushp Sharma who had sought the number of Muslim yoga teachers and trainers hired for foreign assignments during the first World Yoga Day on June 21, 2015.

“As per government policy - No Muslim candidate was invited, selected or sent abroad,” the ministry was quoted as purportedly saying.

The online version of the Milli Gazette report also carried images of the RTI replies. HT could not independently verify the authenticity of the documents.

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.

After the United Nations declared June 21 as the World Yoga Day, Modi said that the recognition was proof that “the world is curious to know about India and we must tell the world about our culture, we have to be proud of our culture.”

In stinging comments at the end of the report, the Milli Gazette said, “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 accuses the Modi of pursuing an overtly anti-minority agenda and of failing to reign in fringe groups from targeting minority institutions.

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