PATNA — Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, home to around one-third of the nation’s 17 croroe Muslim population, have very negligible presence of the minority civil servants on the posts of District Magistrate (DM) or Superintendent of Police (SP).
In Bihar, out of 76 posts of DM and SP, only four are held by the officers from the Muslim minority community, if the information available on the government websites of 38 districts of the state are accurate and updated. Each district has one DM and one SP. There are only two DMs and two SPs belonging to the Muslim minority in Bihar, which has over 1.75 crore Muslim population, that is 16.87% of the state’s total population as per the Census 2011.
The DM of Gopalganj district is Arshad Aziz, IAS, and Sheikhpura district has lady IAS officer Inayat Khan as DM. Jamui and Kaimur districts have Inamul Haque Mengnoo and Md. Dilnawaz Ahmed as SP respectively. Besides, the Purnia Subdivision has IAS Safina AN as Divisional Commissioner.
The situation, however, is poorer in the neighbouring Uttar Pradesh. Compared to Bihar, UP has double the number of districts. However, it has half the number of Muslim civil servants as DM or SP in comparison to Bihar.
UP has 75 districts and over 3.84 crore Muslims or 19.26% of the state population. If the information available on the government websites of 75 districts are accurate and updated, then the country’s most populous state has just one DM and one SP belonging to the Muslim community. While Jalaun district has Dr. Mannan Akhtar as DM, Lalitpur district has Mirza Manzar Beg as SP. However, Azamgarh district has two officers from the community – one is Additional SP (traffic) and another is DSP.
Why This Situation?
Talking to this reporter, former civil servant Dr Syed Zafar Mahmood says the negligible presence of Muslim DM or SP is because of low presence of Muslims among the ranks of IAS and IPS officers.
“Bihar’s figure (4 Muslims among 76 DMs/SPs) stands at around 5% while UP’s is even poorer – less than 1%. The overall all-India percentage of Muslims among IAS and IPS was restricted at 2.5% till 2016. But the results of civil services exams in the next three years (2017, 2018, 2019) took the percentage to around 5% thanks to the efforts made between 2009-2016 (by community-run civil services coaching centres).
The present low representation of Muslim officers as DM or SP is because their percentage among IAS and IPS was just around 2.5% till 2016. Though the percentage increased since then, the current lot of DM or SP are not from those who became IAS or IPS during the last three years,” he said adding that the current situation is not bad in Bihar.
Dr Mahmood, a former IRS (Indian Revenue Service), says the situation in UP is indeed bad. “The representation of Muslims as DM or SP is very bad in UP. It is true that the percentage of Muslim IAS/IPS is low but not even that percentage is visible on these posts,” he said.
When asked if the percentage of successful Muslim candidates in civil services exams has gone down in UP in recent years, Dr Mahmood said: “That percentage has gone up in the last three years across the country, including UP. But the percentage which was even before this increase is not visible in the posts of DM or SP as per your figures. This is a matter of investigation.”
Patna-based political observer Arshad Ajmal also says that the low percentage of Muslim DM or SP could be because of low percentage of the community among IAS and IPS officers.
Ajmal says: “The issue requires some research to reach to a conclusion. One needs to know how many Muslim IAS/IPS officers are present. It seems that the percentage is itself low. Though some candidates qualified from the state public service commission are also promoted to the post of DM or SP, we need to know about the exact numbers. It will be better for me to comment then.”
However, he adds that the current low presence of Muslim DM or SP is not new; it was even during the regime of Lalu Prasad.
“I know it for sure that during the Lalu regime, the representation of Muslims as Vice Chancellor of universities was very good. But I don’t remember that the representation of the community as DM or SP was good. However, at present, there is no Muslim VC in Bihar,” says Ajmal.
Dr Mahmood hints that the present low representation of Muslims as DM or SP could also be partly because of the perception about the minority community.
“If they (the governments) want to appoint minority officers as DM or SP, they can do it even with low percentage. If they don’t want to do it then even good percentage will not matter. During the Akhilesh Yadav regime, UP’s Chief Secretary and DGP both were Muslims,” says Dr Mahmood who runs Zakat Foundation which provides logistic support to civil services aspirants from the minority communities. In recent years, dozens of candidates supported by the Foundation have cleared the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exams.
Success of Muslim Candidates in UPSC Exams in Recent Years
In June 2017, the results of UPSC 2016 were declared. Fifty out of the 1,099 successful candidates were Muslims. This was said to be the highest figure of the community in the country’s premier exams since Independence.
Next year in 2018, some 51 Muslim candidates figured in the list of 935 successful candidates. In 2019, some 30 Muslims found place in the list of 759 successful candidates. It may be noted that not all those who clear UPSC qualify for IAS or IPS.