CRPF religion head count By ANANTHAKRISHNAN G. |

Thiruvananthapuram, July 21: A media release issued by a Central Reserve Police Force training centre in Kerala has given a religion-wise break-up of its new graduates.

The note, issued yesterday after a passing-out and attestation parade of constables, says of its 919 new recruits “841 are Hindu, 43 are Muslim, 22 are Christian and 13 are Sikh”. It was signed by the DIGP/principal of the CRPF’s Pallipuram training centre on the outskirts of the Kerala capital.

The Union minister of state for home, Mullappally Ramachandran, was the chief guest at the event. CRPF director-general K. Vijaya Kumar and special DG (operations) P.M. Nair were also present.

Ajay Bharatan, the DIG in charge of the Pallipuram training camp, claimed it was “routine practice” to give out such statistics.

“We always give out the percentage-wise figures so that people know how many from which religion are joining the forces,” he said.

A senior CRPF official in Delhi, however, said there was no system of religious profiling in any of the paramilitary forces and that it was “wrong” to give out such figures.

In the army, such a religion-wise break-up of soldiers is never given. Calcutta police make no mention of religion when their constables graduate but identify OBC and SC/ST candidates.

The CRPF DG, Vijaya Kumar, could not be contacted for comment as repeated calls went unanswered. Ramachandran’s office told this correspondent it was better to contact Kumar.

In New Delhi, CRPF media liaison in-charge Bhuvan Khanduri said: “It is highly improbable that the CRPF has issued a press release, especially with such figures on religious lines. They are not authorised to issue a release. It is possible that someone else is sending in name of CRPF.”

The Pallipuram recruits had done a rigorous 44-week training, including a course in jungle warfare and a seven-day survival exercise with limited rations.

In 2006, the PMO had sparked a controversy when it asked the armed forces to provide data on the number of Muslims in their ranks, their positions and role in key operations.


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