Report finds Jammu, Kashmir Muslims debunking myths
1 December 2006
The Daily Times
New Delhi: A high-level panel led by former Delhi High Court chief justice Rajinder Sachar, focusing on the position of Muslims in India, has found that Jammu and Kashmir has the least number of madrassas in comparison to other states in the country. The panels report, which was presented before Indias parliament on Thursday, finds that Jammu and Kashmir, despite being Indias only Muslim majority state, is home to just 2,691 madrassa students 1,729 boys and 962 girls. The number of religious students throughout the rest of the country totals 1.35 million. In addition, the report concludes that just four percent of Muslim children study in madrassas all over India, effectively debunking the myth that Muslims prefer to send their children to religious seminaries. However, while the report publishes data on the number of Muslims employed in various government departments and public sector units (PSUs) across 15 selected states, it has not included any statistics from Jammu and Kashmir. But the report does include data on the number of Muslims employed in the states judiciary, which is put at 48.3 percent. The number of Muslims employed as additional district and sessions judges is put at 42.9 percent; 39.7 percent as munsifs; and 59.3 percent as public prosecutors. The report also finds that the National Minorities Development Finance Corporation (NMDFC) released just Rs 86 million from April 2002 to March 2006 to Jammu and Kashmir, benefiting just 1,464 persons. On social trends, the report notes that 46 percent of Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir are using contraceptives, a figure much higher than Indias national average of 37 percent. Fertility rates (Total Fertility Rate 2.7 and Cumulative Fertility 4.9) are also better for Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir than Muslims in other parts of India. The report points out that population growth rates of Indian Muslims has slowed down, saying that there is a substantial demand from the community for fertility regulation and for modern contraceptives.While over 20 million Muslim couples currently use modern contraceptives, the report claims that that this figure would increase if quality and choice-based reproductive healthcare services were made available to the community. However, the relatively higher incidence of poverty and the widening gap in literacy between the Muslims and other comparable socio-religious categories, particularly among women at young ages, could in fact impede the decline in Muslim fertility, it adds. By the end of the 21st century, Indias total population is expected to reach 1.7-1.8 billion.