That religions in India have never had a harmonious equation is like stating a truism. But the incident of a young professional being denied employment at a leading diamond trading firm, Hare Krishna Exports, on the basis of him being a Muslim, not only smacks of religious discrimination but also takes forward the agenda of distrust that the minorities have had to face in the country.
It also calls for strict laws to be enforced, not just enacted, against companies or institutions that discriminate based on religion.
In this case, no matter how large or small the size of the company is, the authorities should impose a large monetary disincentive in the form of a fine, or perhaps even jail the employers. It is not that there are no laws supporting affirmative action for minorities or for the historically oppressed. For instance, the scheduled castes and the scheduled tribes have protection against discrimination, and people are jailed more often than not for doing so. The chairpersons of the SC/ST Commissions are, in fact, given the status of a cabinet minister.
The Indian Constitution specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, race, sex or caste.
Therefore, the case of Zeeshan Ali Khan should be taken seriously by the state government and strictures ordered against the company so that this incident acts as a deterrent for others from following a similar policy.
The truth is that Muslims face extreme discrimination even in the case of housing. Several housing societies openly state that those following the Islamic faith will not be allowed to buy an apartment in a building. This flies in the face of what is a so-called secular republic.
Zeeshan is not the only case. He highlighted the issue on social media and therefore it got all the attention it deserved. However, what about the hundreds of other Muslims who are unable to find employment or a house only because of their faith. This is not the India our nation’s fathers envisioned. Nor is it the country we should leave behind for our children.