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Muslim reservation bill passed in Andhra assembly


Hyderabad : A legislation to provide four percent reservation to backward classes of Muslims in government jobs and educational institutions in Andhra Pradesh has been passed by the state assembly.

On Monday night, the Andhra Pradesh Reservation in Favour of Socially and Educationally Backward Classes of Muslims Act, 2007, replaced the ordinance issued last month.

Ignoring objections from the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the house passed the bill, paving the way for reservations for 15 backward Muslim classes.

While MIM, which has five members in 294-member house, demanded reservations for the entire community and took exception to the division of the community into castes, the BJP opposed reservations in the name of religion. The BJP, which has two members, staged a walkout.

MIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi argued that there was no caste system among Muslims. However, the amendments moved by MIM were defeated by a voice vote.

Replying to a debate on the bill, Minister for Minority Welfare Mohammed Ali Shabbir said several states were providing reservations to backward classes of Muslims. He said the government wanted to provide five percent reservations to the entire community but was compelled to reduce the quantum and also confine it to only backward sections.

It may be recalled that the Andhra Pradesh High Court had twice set aside the government order and legislation for 5 percent reservations to Muslims.

However, some students have also challenged the move in the court while the BJP and its youth and student wings have intensified their agitation.