On April 14, Sudarshan News claimed during a broadcast that Pawan Hans Limited is indulging in “job jihad”. The channel’s editor-in-chief Suresh Chavhanke asserted that the government-owned company was only recruiting Muslim aspirants and Hindu students were being discriminated against. Pawan Hans Limited is a Category I Miniratna company under the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India.
— Sudarshan News (@SudarshanNewsTV) April 15, 2022
In a subsequent broadcast of its flagship show ‘Bindass Bol’, Chavhanke said to his viewers, “After studying aviation courses from all across India and spending lakhs of rupees in fees, people are still unemployed. But Jamia Millia Islamia! Pawan Hans has a partnership with the Delhi campus [of Jamia Millia Islamia]. I have the agreement documents. But in the recent recruitment drive, Pawan Hans has taken 100% of students from Jamia. No advertisements, not even an appeal was circulated [regarding the drive]. As if the company is owned by some sheikh and whoever caught his whims has been taken. There are more questions regarding the company’s violation of recruitment protocols set by the Indian government.” During the show, Chavhanke asked for serious measures to be taken against the company.
Ashok Srivastav, senior editor at DD News, tweeted an image of a list on April 7. The list carried the names of nine interns recruited by Pawan Hans, all of whom hailed from the Muslim community. Srivastav wrote that the company did not release any official declaration of an upcoming recruitment drive but directly contacted the authorities at Jamia Millia and the university’s coordinator sent them this list. His tweet drew over 7,000 likes.
ज़रा पेड इंटर्न्स की ये लिस्ट देखिए, जी नहीं ये पश्चिम बंगाल,बांग्लादेश या पाकिस्तान में हुई नियुक्तियां नहीं। ये @PawanHansLtd में रखे गए पेड इंटर्न हैं। कंपनी ने विज्ञापन नहीं निकाला सीधा जामिया मिलिया यूनिवर्सिटी से संपर्क किया और जामिया के कोर्डिनेटर ने ये लिस्ट भेज दी। pic.twitter.com/BIA0dGeqq2
— Ashok Shrivastav (@AshokShrivasta6) April 7, 2022
An aspirant named Ansh Aggarwal’s father Rajiv Aggarwal tweeted that his son had the highest CGPA in the mechanical branch, yet he did not get selected. He urged the government to pursue an inquiry into the matter.
My son is a graduate from https://t.co/TBxI8SdLvu.Aeronautics Jamia,who have highest cgpa in mechanical branch yet was not selected by pawan hans apprenticeship,why? @PMOIndia @OpIndia_com @AmitShahOffice @KapilMishra_IND @JM_Scindia please do inquiry pic.twitter.com/wiohAaTIhS
— Rajeev Aggarwal (@Rajeev_Agarwal4) April 8, 2022
According to the notifications issued on the Pawan Hans website, the organization has been running a full-time basic aircraft maintenance training course for two and a half years with Jamia Millia Islamia. The agreement between the parties was made on July 27, 2017. Information regarding this was also shared on Jamia Millia’s Facebook page at the time. According to the information on the website, the total fee of this course is Rs 1.30 lakh and during the year 2018, a total of 60 students were admitted (30 students in section B1 and 30 students in section B2). Upon completion of the course, 30 students go through an interview round after which 10 are selected for an internship. The interns serve a training period of one year during which they are given a stipend of Rs 15,000.
Sudarshan News claimed that the company discriminated against Hindu students. While we were unable to get a statement from Pawan Hans, we spoke with students who were enrolled in the course. This included students named in the internship list and others who did not make the cut. Some of them hailed from the Hindu community.
It is likely that the students selected for the internship hailed from the Muslim community because Jamia Millia Islamia has a 50% Muslim quota. Lists of students enrolled in BSc aeronautics mechanical and BSc aeronautics avionics have been attached below. These are the students enrolled in the 2020-2021 batch. There are 29 students in the mechanical department and 28 in aeronautics. A total of 57 students continued till the last semester. Out of the 57 students, 11 are Hindu – five from BSc aeronautics mechanical, and six from BSc aeronautics aviation.
The list shared by Ashok Srivastav names nine students from BSc aeronautics and BSc mechanical who were selected for the internship. One student from the avionics department had opted out. A student told us that based on the marks obtained in BSc aeronautics, 30 students were selected for the personal interview round. Out of the selected 30, four had opted out because they wanted to pursue higher studies or for personal reasons. Out of the four students, three were Hindu. We spoke with these four students and they denied facing any instances of discrimination during the selection process based on their religion.
Shubh Solanki, who was among the students shortlisted for the personal interview round, said, “It’s not true that only Muslim students are selected. If you have marks, you will get selected. I received an interview call but I rejected the offer because I was preparing for something else. The selection is based on the CGPA acquired in all the semesters. As far as I know, students who secured a CGPA of 8.5 and higher were called for a personal interview. The second factor was the DGCA module. The director-general of the aviation academy conducts 10 modules. The students who clear the maximum number of modules have a higher chance of getting selected. Some clear two rounds while some clear six. I have also heard that women have a 30% quota. Pawan Hans has a college in Mumbai too.”
We accessed the list of selected candidates at Pawan Hans Helicopter Training Institute Mumbai. Out of the 13 selected candidates, 10 were Hindu. We haven’t attached the list to protect the privacy of the students since the list is not publicly available.
One of the Muslim students who was selected for the internship told us on the condition of anonymity, “We have two branches in our course, one mechanical and another avionics. Both the courses have seats for 30 students each. Some students dropped out during the first and second years of the course so in the end only 56 students were left. Out of these 56 students, 30 were selected for the interview round. These 30 students are selected based on the CGPA and the DGCA modules. Out of the 30, four opted out of the interview round. A total of 26 students finally appeared for the interview round and this included both Muslim and non-Muslim names.”
Did Pawan Hans discriminate against Hindu students?
Sudarshan News claimed that Pawan Hans discriminated against Hindu students and selected only Muslim students. We found that out of 57 students enrolled for the course, 11 were Hindu. There were five Hindu students in BSc aeronautics mechanical and four out of them did not appear for the modules.
We contacted the fifth student, Ansh Aggarwal, who did not get selected and whose father had questioned the authenticity of this selection procedure. When we asked Ansh if he was treated differently based on his religion, he said, “It might be the case because people with a lower CGPA than mine did get selected, people who passed less number of modules than me also got selected. My interview round went very well as well. I don’t know what other reason there might be.” We asked Ansh if the students who were selected despite lower CGPA and less number of modules were women. He said they were.
Out of the 10 students selected for the interview, three were female. Out of the three, two were unable to clear any modules. The viral list has the names of two female students who were selected even though they could not clear a single module. This is because of the 30% women’s quota. The rest of the seven students cleared more modules than the remainder of the class. Alt New has accessed the results of the modules.
We further contacted the six Hindu students from BSc aeronautics aviation. Out of the six, two received a call for the interview round but rejected the offer since they wanted to pursue higher studies. One of the students said they had cleared less number of modules and did not get an interview call. The remaining three students informed that their module results and CGPA were lesser than the other students.
The total number of students selected by Pawan Hans this year is as follows – nine students from Jamia, 13 from its campus in Mumbai, and five engineering graduates. Apart from this, 11 students have been selected on many other posts. Out of these 38 selected students, 25 are Hindu and 13 are Muslim. So the claim that Pawan Hans only recruited Muslim students and discriminated against Hindus is untrue. The list that went viral only showed the students selected from Jamia. A few students from the course had also opted out of the interview round for higher studies, and some failed to receive interview calls due to low CGPA and less number of cleared modules.
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