Muslims Excluded from India's Spy Agency

November 6, 2006

Author: Simon Denyer

Source: Reuters

NEW DELHI, Nov 6 (Reuters) - There are scarcely any Muslims working in India's 10,000-strong external intelligence agency, and neither Muslims nor Sikhs working as bodyguards for the country's top leaders, according to officials and media reports.

Mainly Hindu but officially secular India has its first Sikh prime minister, Manmohan Singh, but his community is not trusted enough to guard him, according to Outlook magazine this week.

The magazine said India's minority Muslims were not trusted by the security apparatus because of fears they could sympathise with the country's mainly Muslim neighbour and long-time foe Pakistan.

It said none had been recruited by the country's external spy agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), since 1969.

The domestic Intelligence Bureau (IB) had decided to recruit Muslims in the l990s, Outlook said, but the organisation still only had a "handful" of Muslim officers.

A government spokesman declined to comment on the report.