By Pervez Bari, TwoCircles.net,
Mysore: The Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) has decided to launch a national campaign for reservation of Muslims and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in Central Government and State Government along with public sectors and in private sectors also with parliament march in New Delhi during the Union Budget session next month in February.
This was decided in the meeting of National Working Committee (NWC) of SDPI held here in Mysore on December 29 last wherein a resolution was adopted to this effect. In the meeting it was unanimously resolved that the said proposal will be sent to parliamentary board, Central Government for its recommendation and bring this before the Parliament and make a law for its better implementation in the interests of the Muslims and other OBCs. The meeting was presided over by SDPI national president Mr. E. Abubacker.
According to SDPI national general secretary A. Sayeed the reservation campaign in 23 states where the party has its presence will be marked by seminars, rallies, signature campaigns, dharna, etc. He said that SDPI shall observe Ambedkar Jayanti on April 14 as Social Justice Day.
At the NWC meeting it was also decided to establish a women’s wing of SDPI keeping in view the local bodies elections wherein 50 per cent reservation is earmarked for women. The internal elections of the party will be conducted between January and March from Branch level to the national office bearers. The NRC (National Representative Council) will be held in Coimbatore on March 30th and 31st where NWC will be recast which will elect the national office-bearers of the party for the next two years, Sayeed added.
Meanwhile, on December 30 a meeting of state presidents and general secretaries of SDPI was held wherein central leadership apprised itself about the activities of the party in each state. The ensuing Assembly elections in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh was also discussed with profiling of candidates which will be finalized soon, he further added.
Two sub-committees were formed with one for Karnataka Legislative Assembly elections to be held in March-April this year and the other for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections to identify constituencies and candidates for the polls.
At the outset SDPI’s national vice president Advocate Sajid Siddiqui welcomed the NWC members in the meeting. National president Abubacker in his presidential remarks exhorted members not to be disheartened by the recent poll debacles but continue their sincere efforts to bring marginalised people to power who have been deprived of their share in power structure of the country.
Meanwhile, the resolution on reservation was moved in the meeting by NWC member CR Imtiaz which was adopted unanimously. The resolution said that the non-implementation of recommendations of several earlier commissions and committees has made the Muslims wary of any new initiative. Everybody has lost hope in the attitude of the mindset of the state and central governments and this is not a problem of the minority community but is a national concern.
The resolution drew attention to the issue of Muslim concentration where assembly constituencies have been declared as reserved constituencies wherein only SC candidates can contest elections. Thus, Muslims are being systematically denied political participations.
The resolution said Muslims in salaried jobs both public and private sector is quite low in the aggregate. While 25 per cent of Hindu upper caste workers are engaged in regular jobs about 13 per cent of Muslim workers are engaged in such jobs. Lack of access to regular jobs in public sector is general concern among the Muslim population. It is only about 27 per cent of the Muslim workers in urban areas while SC/STs, OBCs and Hindu upper caste workers it is 40 to 36 and 49 per cent respectively.
The share of Muslims in the defence workers was found to be just 4 per cent while that of Hindu SC/STs 12 per cent, Hindu OBCs 23 per cent and Hindu upper castes were 52 per cent. The presence of Muslims was found to be only 3 per cent in the IAS and 1.8 per cent in the IFS, 4 per cent in the IPS. In the Indian Railways in about 14 lakhs people there are 64 thousand employees belongs to Muslim Community as 4.5 per cent. In the Postal department out of about 2.75 lakhs employees the Muslim community has a representation of only 5 per cent.
Meanwhile, in terms of their policy of reservation for Backward Classes, Kerala and Karnataka governments stand out for having extended the benefits of reservation to their entire Muslim population. This has been achieved by including Muslims (minus the creamy layer) as a distinct group within the broad category of Backward Classes and then provided with exclusive quota. This distinct feature of their reservation policy dates back to the colonial period.
Post-independence, on the re-organisation of State of Mysore as Karnataka, all non-Brahmin Hindu castes and all non-Hindu minority communities like Muslims and Christians were declared as backward classes. In 1960, on the recommendations of the Nagan Gowda Committee, the category classes was bifurcated into backwards (28 per cent) and more backwards (22 per cent). Together with the quota for SC/ST, the magnitude of reservation rose to 68 per cent. The Supreme court in a landmark judgment, however, placed 50 per cent ceiling on the quantum of reservation. Muslims as a whole continued to be considered as among the backward communities.
The Havanur Commission in 1972 recommended the creation of a distinct category of minority group with reservation not exceeding 6 per cent. The State classified Backward Classes into three categories: (a) Most backward; (b) More backward and (c) Backward. All Muslims whose income is less than Rs. 2 lakh per annum have been declared backward and placed exclusively in one of the sub-categories of “More Backwards” with four per cent of the seats set for them.
While in Kerala, the reservation scheme introduced in 1952, fixed the quantum of reservation at 45 per cent (including 10 per cent for SCs and STs). The beneficiaries included the Ezhavas, Kammalas, the Nadars (Hindu and Christian), other Hindu backward castes and SC and OBC converts to Christianity. On the re-organisation of the State in 1956, the quota for Backward Classes was enhanced to 40 per cent.
Later the scheme was modified to introduce sub-quotas for major backward groups. A separate Muslim share was fixed at 10 per cent that later rose 12 per cent. At present, the reservation system in Kerala is as follows: Backward Classes 40 per cent (Ezhavas 14 per cent. Muslims 12 per cent; Latin Catholics 4 per cent; Nadars 2 per cent; Christian converts from SCs 1 per cent; Dheevaras 1 per cent; Other Backward Classes 3 per cent; Viswakarmas 3 per cent) and SCs and STs 10 per cent, the resolution pointed out.