The civil service exams are seen as one of the toughest and the most prestigious examinations in the country to clear. As an exam open to all Indians, it's hardly a debate on how many people, from where and who they are so long as they work for the country. Not everybody seems to think so.
There are some who are claiming 'UPSC Jihad' and how Muslims have been clearing the exams. This claim has been considered hate speech, especially since a TV channel this week organised a whole segment on it. Many are also asking if the Indian bureaucracy will stand for this as Muslim colleagues face these charges.
Claims of 'UPSC Jihad'
Hate speech in India is not a recent matter, due to social media, it's only got more traction now. This uphill battle is being fought only by a section of netizens. Over the past few days a new media claim of 'UPSC Jihad' has been making the rounds.
A local TV channel based in Noida announced a programme on 'UPSC Jihad' to address the rise in the number of Muslims who are clearing and are coming out on top in the civil service exams across the country. Calling it an 'infiltration' a journalist of the channel has been going on about it as a form of 'Jihad'.
These highly objectionable and defamatory claims have been met with a terrible response. While many netizens have reported the channel and its content, others are asking for action against the said channel. There are still others asking if Indian bureaucrats will come forward to stand up for their Muslim colleagues.
Communalising a national exam which ideally must not discriminate against candidates is problematic on so many levels. In a time when communal tolerance is coming into questioning fuelling extremist positions and launching inflammatory allegations, inevitably comes off as offensive.
The debate on the Twitterverse
For many, it's a lose-lose situation. Netizens have pointed out the previous targeting by the same channel and also say that the claim defeats the purpose of Muslims working towards their own growth as a community.
A Twitter user asked, "Yaar na padho to aap kehte ho Madarse waale hain Padho to aap keh rahe ho ki UPSC_Jihad waale hain. (Friend, if we don't study then say there are Madrasis, study then you say they're UPSC Jihadis.) Arey aap chahte kiye hain? (What do you want?) 14.5% Muslims as per 2011 Census and 4.8% Muslims selected in UPSC 2019. And you are calling it.....Shame on you."
Many spoke about hypocrisy in the country over education for Muslims. Another issue was the IAS and IPS's silence on the matter. Even as journalists picked up the baton to demand action, there was an echo for those on the field to come forward and help their own.
The IPS Association has come out with a statement, condemning the content by the news channel, "We condemn the communal and irresponsible piece of journalism," the organisation said on Twitter.
Will action be taken against the channel?