Amend Article 341, Implement Mishra report: Bihar Muslim leaders

By Mumtaz Alam Falahi,,

Patna: The 4.5% sub-quota for OBC minorities within the 27% OBC quota has triggered a hot debate not only among political parties but the Muslim community also. Muslim community leaders in Bihar are not opposing the move but they say that more important and necessary than this step was the long-pending demand of amendment in Article 341 and implementation of 10% quota for Muslims as recommended by Ranganath Mishra Commission. Some, however, apprehend that the sub-quota within OBC category can create tension and infighting among communities.

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“This is a positive step that 4.5% out of 27% OBC quota is being fixed for Muslim OBCs. This will benefit them. But this is not the solution,” Afzal Hussain Khan, General Secretary, Bihar Rabeta Committee said while talking to TCN.

Afzal Hussain Khan, General Secretary, Bihar Rabeta Committee

He demanded: “The entire Muslim community should be declared OBC and the recommendations of Sachar Committee and Ranganath Mishra Commission should be implemented in entirety.”

Mr Khan stressed on amendment in Article 341 as it will benefit more Muslims.

“Another major hindrance in Muslims’ political and social empowerment is the Article 341 which prevents deserving Muslims from the Scheduled Castes category. It is often said that on the basis of religion, no govt facilities can be given, but it is interesting that on the very basis of religion, the Muslims are kept from SC category. It is a grave injustice that a dhobi, a nut, a halalkhor if he is Hindu or Sikh or Buddhist, he will enjoy SC status but if he is Muslim or Christian he is kept out. In 1952, only Hindus were in SC category but over the years Sikh and Buddhist were included in that category,” he said.

However, Nayyaruzzaman, State President, Jamaat-e-Islami Bihar, does not think the sub-quota move is honest and fair. He apprehends it will cause anxiety and infighting.

Nayyaruzzaman, State President, Jamaat-e-Islami Bihar

“Government does not look fair and honest in the announcement of the 4.5% sub-quota. Before elections, government and parties have been doing such things to appease Muslims. The way they have given 4.5% from within the 27% OBC quota is not good. This will create anxiety and provoke infighting. This is not going to benefit Muslims in large way either,” Nayyaruzzaman said.

He also demanded 10% reservation to Muslims as recommended by Mishra Commission. “If they (government) had announced to implement 10% Muslim quota as recommended by Ranganath Mishra Commission that would have been a good step for the community, and we were satisfied,” he added.

But Nayyar Fatmi, Political Activist and Journalist, sees the sub-quota as a first step in right direction.

Nayyar Fatmi, Journalist and Political Activist

“This is a first step in right direction though it is insufficient. The commission on whose recommendation this 4.5% has been given had recommended about 6%. Yet, we welcome it,” Fatmi told TCN.

He also demands amendment in Article 341.

“But more important is the demand of amendment in Article 341. This 4.5% sub-quota will not benefit those Muslims who have been demanding their inclusion in the Scheduled Castes category on the basis of being socially, economically and even professionally similar to Hindu SCs. So, we will continue our fight for that until the government relents and fulfill our demand,” he said but reiterated: “However, this 4.5% sub-quota should not be opposed, we should welcome the beginning.”