The AYUSH ministry on Saturday expressed "anguish" at the mischievous misinformation being spread in a section of media and social media and termed as "fabricated" a purported RTI reply that had claimed that the central government does not recruit Muslims in the ministry as a policy.
"The ministry of AYUSH has noted with anguish certain mischievous misinformation being spread in certain section of media and social media quoting a reply to an RTI by mentioning a fabricated draft as annexure I to that letter, which has never been issued by the ministry or any of its agencies. The ministry strongly condemns this piece of misreporting," said a strongly-worded statement from the ministry.
It said that the contents regarding religion based data "are not only fabricated but factually incorrect".
The response of the ministry's international cooperation section clearly said that invitations were sent to yoga experts/enthusiasts without reference to their religions, and added the ministry is initiating "appropriate action" in the matter.
The statement cautioned that such misreporting was aimed at causing "chasm" between different sections of society and promoting disharmony and mistrust.
The response came in response to a series of RTI applications by a journalist who had sought the number of Muslim yoga teachers and trainers hired for foreign assignments during the first World Yoga Day on June 21 last year.
"As per government policy: no Muslim candidate was invited, selected or sent abroad," the reply was quoted as saying.
The ministry, however, on Saturday said that an RTI request dated September 17, 2015 was received from Pushp Sharma which sought information about various issues including how many times yoga councils were formulated in last ten years, detail list of each council, name of Yoga council members who got selected and how many Muslim candidates were invited.
It said that on receipt of the query, it forwarded this RTI request to its three agencies, namely the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga, Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy and its international cooperation wing.
"This is a simple forwarding letter under section 6(3) of RTI Act and therefore does not contain any reply to the queries.
"The same forwarding letter of the ministry has been used by a section of the media in this matter, but with a non-existent, fictitious 'ANNEXURE- I', (which has never been issued by the ministry)," it said.