Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Muslim Headcount in the Army: Necessary or Dangerous

Muslim Headcount in the Army: Necessary or Dangerous

The Indian army has perhaps remained the last truly secular institution without prejudice or bias towards any religion, caste or creed. It is a truly national army where the chiefs have come from many religious backgrounds though none of them had been a Muslim so far.

The recent Sachar committee formed by the government in counting the number of Muslims in the Army, their trades in the forces, ranks etc with the intention to get an idea of the Muslim participation in the social and economic spheres have actually drawn flak from many quarters including the Army Headquarters itself. It said that it is going to hit at the core of the institution?s heart.

In my opinion, there is no harm in getting the information. The government has the right to know the current status of Muslims in India. Besides, though it may sound bad, with Muslim fanaticism growing, it always pays to be on the guard. Can the army completely rule out penetration by Islamic terrorists in its ranks?

National security should be a top concern for the government. However, knowing what community is doing how in the economic and social spheres must be welcomed should working to improve the status is at the back of government?s mind.

It is up to the army to tell it?s Muslim soldiers that such a headcount must not be taken as a personal attack and reason it before them rather than fighting the government against it.
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