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No Muslim headcount in armed forces: Pranab

Government said it would like to maintain their secular and apolitical character.

india Updated: Feb 21, 2006 20:06 IST

Government on Tuesday said it did not favour headcount of Muslims in the armed forces.

Government said it would like to maintain their secular and apolitical character and they will not be included in the study for possible state intervention for uplift of Muslims.

"The armed forces are professional, apolitical, secular and the most disciplined force the country has today... We would not like to include (armed forces) in such a type of survey, (But) in the case of other departments and ministries such a study will continue," Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in Rajya Sabha.

Giving clarifications to queries on his statement on the appointment of Justice Rajindra Sachar Committee to study social, economic and educational status of Muslim community, he said, "we do not recruit (in the armed forces) on the basis of caste, religion, creed or region... We do not maintain data (in armed forces) based on such classifications."

The Government would go ahead with the study to ascertain the economic and educational status of Muslims, the single largest minority group in the country, in other departments, he said.

Mukherjee said Government had mandated the Sachar Committee to undertake study of minorities so that a database was prepared for possible Government interventions for their uplift.

"We are not apologetic of appointing a committee to look into economic, social, education and cultural condition of single largest minority group," he said.

The Defence Minister said his ministry had informed the high-level Committee that government wanted to "keep armed forces out of the survey."

First Published: Feb 21, 2006 20:06 IST