NEW DELHI — Ahead of the Assembly elections in Rajasthan, the central BJP government has picked Alwar district, which has earned notoriety for lynching of poor Muslims in the name of cow in the last two years, to set up a specialised skill center as part of its outreach program for minorities.
Alwar is among five districts selected by the Union minority affairs ministry to set up national institutes for specialized education and skill training.
Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF) has also started a study to decide the kind of courses and facilities that will shape the specialised institute. A high-level committee under MAEF had last year made recommendations to improve education facilities especially for children from minority communities.
The foundation stone for the skill training institute in Alwar is expected to be laid by down by the end of this month.
On selection of Alwar, Minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said it was a step towards opening up opportunities for people in the area with pockets of backwardness and Alwar is near Mewat (Haryana), which was ranked as country’s most backward district by NITI Aayog earlier this year.
Why Not Mewat?
In March this year, NITI Aayog had released a ranking of 101 most underdeveloped districts in the country. Mewat, a Muslim-dominated district hardly two-hour drive from the national capital, is country’s most backward district. In the composite ranking covering all five sectors — Health and Nutrition, Education, Agriculture and Water Resources, Financial Inclusion and Skill Development, and Basic Infrastructure — Mewat in Haryana stood at the bottom% score. Interestingly, Mewat is adjacent to glittering Gurgaon district (recently renamed as Gurugram), one of the leading hubs of MNCs in the country.
Moreover, in the list of 20 most backward districts in the country, there were 11 Muslim-concentration districts.
Alwar was not in the list. Despite the fact that the district has less than 5% Muslim population, the government has chosen it for its minority outreach program. On the other hand, around 80% of population of Mewat is Muslim. Why Alwar? Maybe to erase Alwar’s notoriety for lynching ahead of the approaching Assembly polls in Rajasthan.
As per media reports, though in the name of minority outreach, the institute will be open to all people. After all, Alwar has less than 5% Muslim population.
Eye on State Elections
Selection of Alwar over Mewat to set up specialized skill center is seemingly a step to woo Muslim voters in the state. In the last one and half years, Alwar has witnessed lynching of at least three Muslims over suspicion of cow smuggling.
The lynching was carried out by self-styled cow vigilante groups associated with Hindutva outfits. Interestingly, state BJP ministers have directly or indirectly supported cow vigilantes after each lynching.
Pehlu Khan, a 55-year-old dairy farmer from Mewat was lynched by a brutal gang of cow vigilantes in Alwar on 1st April 2017. Another dairy farmer Ummar Khan, 42, was shot dead allegedly by a brutal gang of cow vigilantes in Alwar district in November 2017. Rakbar Khan, 28, was brutally assaulted by a mob on suspicion of cattle smuggling in the intervening night of 20-21 July this year. Later he died in a local hospital.
Rajasthan is going to polls later this year. The Assembly polls in Haryana is scheduled for 2019.