India's Intelligence Off Limit for Muslims

India's Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the country's external spy agency, is off limits to the Asian giant's 140 million Muslims, who are not also being employed as bodyguards for the country's top leaders.

India's Intelligence Off Limit for Muslims

"If we do not have any Muslims obviously this is a handicap," A.S. Dulat, who served as RAW chief from 1999 to 2000, he told Reuters on Monday, November 6.

He said he did not recall seeing any Muslims in the organization.

"If there are no Muslims, there must have been a reluctance to take them in," said the former top spy.

A report by the Outlook magazine said that no Muslim has been recruited into the RAW since 1969.

Only a "handful" of Indian Muslim officers are working at the domestic Intelligence Bureau (IB), according to the report.

"It is also not easy to find that many Muslims," argued Dulat.

"The need for Muslim officers in intelligence-gathering is acute," said Saxena a former RAW chief.

India is home to an estimated Muslim population of 140 million, the world's largest Muslim population after Indonesia and Pakistan.

Hindus account for more than 80 percent of the country's 1.1 billion population while Muslims make up about 13 percent.


The Outlook report warned earlier this week that failure to recruit Muslims into the country's security apparatus would weigh on the intelligence gathering process.

"The need for Muslim officers in intelligence-gathering is acute," said another former RAW chief, Girish Chandra Saxena.

"There are very few people who have knowledge of Urdu or Arabic. The issue has to be addressed."

Muslims are excluded from serving as bodyguards for the country's top leaders.

"It is an unwritten rule in the Special Protection Group (SPG) that they cannot recruit a Muslim or a Sikh," an intelligence official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has urged regional leaders to recruit more Muslims into police and intelligence agencies to counter the growing insecurity and alienation among the Muslim minority.

The Outlook report said this week that Indian Muslims were not trusted by the security apparatus over fears they could sympathize with India's arch foe Pakistan.

Sikhs have not been used as bodyguards since Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her personal Sikh bodyguards in 1984 at the height of a Sikh insurgency.

Dulat said Sikhs had come "under a cloud" following Gandhi's murder.

Sikhs, who make up nearly two percent of the population, seem to have come a long way since.

General J.J. Singh, a Sikh, commands India's 1.3-million strong armed forces while incumbent Premier Singh is also a Sikh.

Though India's top woman tennis star, president and richest man are Muslims as are several top film stars and federal ministers, such high-profile success stories mask the real status of Indian Muslims.

The country's Muslim minority has suffered decades of social and economic neglect and oppression.

Official figures reveal Muslims log lower educational levels and higher unemployment rates than the Hindu majority and other minorities like Christians and Sikhs.

They account for less than seven percent of public service employees, only five percent of railways workers, around four percent of banking employees and there are only 29,000 Muslims in the 1.3 million-strong military.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16