On April 14, Sudarshan News claimed on a broadcast that Pawan Hans Limited was waging an “employment jihad”. The channel’s editor, Suresh Chavhanke, claimed that the government-owned company recruited only aspiring Muslims and that Hindu students were discriminated against.
Pawan Hans Limited is a Miniratna Category I company under the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
In a later broadcast of his flagship show Bindas Bowl, Chavhanke told viewers, “After studying aviation courses all over India and spending thousands of rupees on 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 documents okay. But in the recent recruitment drive, Pawan Hans took 100% of Jamia’s students. No commercials, not even a call went out [regarding the drive]. As if the company was owned by a sheikh and anyone who caught his whims was caught. There are more questions regarding the company’s violation of recruitment protocols set by the Indian government.
During the show, Chavhanke called for serious action to be taken against the company.
On April 7, DD News editor Ashok Srivastav tweeted an image of a list with the names of nine interns recruited by Pawan Hans, all from the Muslim community. Srivastav wrote that the company has not issued any official statement of an upcoming recruitment drive, but has directly contacted Jamia Millia authorities and the university coordinator sent them this list. Her tweet attracted more than 7,000 likes.
Rajiv Aggarwal, the father of an aspirant named Ansh Aggarwal, tweeted that his son had the highest grade point average in the mechanical branch, but he was not selected. He urged the government to pursue an investigation into the matter.
According to notifications issued on the Pawan Hans website, the organization has been running a full-time basic aircraft maintenance training course with Jamia Millia Islamia for two and a half years. The agreement between the parties was concluded on July 27, 2017. Information about this has also been shared on Jamia Millia’s Facebook Page at the time.
According to the information on the site, the total price for this course is Rs 1.30 lakh. In 2018, a total of 60 students were admitted (30 students in section B1 and 30 students in section B2). At the end of the course, 30 students are interviewed, after which 10 are selected for an internship.
Trainees complete a one-year training period during which they receive an allowance of Rs 15,000.
Sudarshan News claimed that the company discriminated against Hindu students. While New Alternatives was 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 had not been retained. Some of them were from the Hindu community.
It is likely that the students selected for the internship are from the Muslim community as Jamia Millia Islamia has a quota of 50% Muslims. According to the lists of students registered in BSc aeronautical mechanics and BSc aeronautical avionics for the promotion 2020-2021. there are 29 students in mechanics and 28 in aeronautics.
A total of 57 students continued until the last semester. Of the 57 students, 11 are Hindu – five from BSc Aeronautics and six from BSc Aeronautics Aviation.
The list shared by Ashok Srivastav names nine BSc Aeronautical and BSc Mechanical students who were selected for the internship. A student from the avionics department withdrew. A student told us that based on the marks obtained in the bachelor’s degree in aeronautics, 30 students were selected for the personal interview. Of the 30 selected, four withdrew because they wanted to pursue higher education or for personal reasons. Of the four students, three were Hindus. New Alternatives spoke with these four students and they denied that they had been discriminated against in the selection process because of their religion.
“It’s not true that only Muslim students are selected,” said Shubh Solanki, who was among the shortlisted students for the personal interview series. “If you have grades, you will be selected. I got an interview call but declined the offer because I was preparing for something else. Selection is based on CGPA [cumulative grade point average] acquired every semester. As far as I know, students who got a CGPA of 8.5 and above were called in for a personal interview. The second factor was the DGCA module. The general manager of the aviation academy leads 10 modules. Students who clear the maximum number of modules are more likely to be selected. Some go through two towers while others go through six. I also heard that women have a 30% quota. Pawan Hans also has a university in Mumbai.
New Alternatives consulted the list of selected candidates on Pawan Hans Mumbai Helicopter Training Institute. Of the 13 candidates selected, 10 were Hindus. We have not attached the list to protect student privacy as the list is not publicly available.
One of the Muslim students who was selected for the internship told us on condition of anonymity: “We have two streams in our curriculum, mechanics and avionics. Both courses have places for 30 students each. Some students dropped out during the first and second years of the course, so that ultimately only 56 students remained. Of these 56 students, 30 were selected for the round of interviews. These 30 students are selected on the basis of the CGPA and the DGCA [Directorate General of Civil Aviation] mods. Of the 30, four chose not to participate in the round of interviews. A total of 26 students eventually showed up for the round of interviews 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 only selected Muslim students. We found that out of 57 students enrolled in the course at Jamia, 11 were Hindus. There were five Hindu BSc Aeronautical Mechanical students and four of them did not show up for the modules.
We contacted the fifth student, Ansh Aggarwal, who was not selected and whose father had questioned the authenticity of this selection procedure. When we asked Ansh Aggarwal if he was treated differently based on his religion, he replied, “It might be because people with lower GPAs than mine were selected, people who achieved less of modules that I have also been selected. My interview rounds also went very well. I don’t know what other reason there could be. We asked her if the students selected despite having a lower cumulative grade point average and a lower number of modules were women. He said they were.
Of the 10 students selected for interview, three were women. Of the three, two could not erase any modules. The viral list contains the names of two female students who were selected even though they were unable to complete a single module. It’s because of the 30% quota for women. The rest of the seven students completed more modules than the rest of the class. New Alternatives accessed the results of the modules.
We then contacted the six Hindu students of the BSc Aeronautical Aviation. Of the six, two received a call for the interview round but rejected the offer as they wanted to pursue higher education. One of the students said he had completed fewer modules and had not received a call for an interview. The other three students indicated that their module results and GPAs were lower than those of the other students.
The total number of students selected by Pawan Hans this year is as follows – nine students from Jamia, 13 from its Mumbai campus and five engineering graduates. Of these 38 selected students, 25 are Hindus and 13 Muslims. Thus, the claim that Pawan Hans only recruited Muslim students and discriminated against Hindus is false.
The list that went viral only showed Jamia’s selected students. A few students in the course had also opted out of the graduate interview series, and some did not receive interview calls due to low GPA and lower numbers. modules deleted.