Govt. urged to grant reservation to Muslims as a community

By reporter,

New Delhi: As the realisation of discriminations of sorts against Indian Muslims has been gaining momentum in the present decade particularly since the submission of Justice Sachar Commission Report, a Joint Committee of Muslim Organisations for Empowerment (JCMOE) launched a movement for reservation for Muslims as a community during a daylong national convention held at India Islamic Cultural Centre here today.

Support TwoCircles

In the convention attended by political as well as community leaders, speaker after speaker referred to Justice Sachar Commission Report and Justice Ranganath Misra Commission Report to justify the demand for Muslim reservation as the Muslims’ socio-economic and educational condition is alarmingly pathetic and even worse than Dalits.

Presiding over the first session of the convention, former Chief Justice of India A.M. Ahmadi, who said in his view secularism is the vision of India, averred, “No country can progress if a sizeable section is denied the opportunity to participate in development… We are yet to see our democracy blossom to its full when minorities are meted out equal treatment.”

Justice Ahmadi lamented, “Just when the Muslim community started participating in the mainstream, the insecurities caused by communal riots have pushed them in ghettos.”

The legal luminary came down heavily upon the Hindutva belligerence, which he said can be seen in the recent past from the demolition of Babri Masjid to the attack on Christians in Orissa and other northern States to the recent Malegaon and Mangalore incidents.

He added that whenever the government intends to take any affirmative action to empower the Muslims, these belligerent forces cry pseudo-secularism or minority appeasement. “Such scarecrows need to be weeded away,” he emphasised.

Justice Ahmadi dwelt in detail on the legal provisions present very much there in the Constitution whereby the government can grant reservation for Muslims as a community, and hoped that those in power would not turn a Nelson’s eye to this vital demand of the principal minority.

Earlier, in his welcome and introductory speech, Convenor of JCMOE and former president All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat and Ex-MP Syed Shahabuddin said, “The Muslim community today is demanding reservation as a Backward Class, as a deprived group, who is almost as backward as SC/ST and more backward than the non-Muslim OBCs.”

Justifying the demand for reservation for Muslims as a community, Mr. Shahabuddin said, “It (the Muslim community) is not staking any historical claim or desiring any preferential or special dispensation,” for the community is inadequately represented in legislatures as well as in government jobs.

Reservation for Muslims is necessary for the community to compete on equal terms with other groups in the OBC category.

The JCMOE Convenor further said, “Muslims have been consistently and universally under-represented in all legislatures since 1950, on an average to the extent of 50% measured by population. But we know that both systematic and electoral reforms are needed not only to give the minorities their due but also to make our democracy more representative.

“For this the electoral system which is inherently unfair and unjust to the minorities has to be substituted by the proportional representation system or variation thereof. For this change, a high degree of national consensus is essential in order to root out the vested interests that have developed.”

Dr. Sayyid Hamid, renowned educationist and Chancellor Jamia Hamdard, pleaded for Muslim reservation – from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, from Gujarat to Assam, and said, “The more the government delays granting reservation to Muslims, the more the condition of Muslims would worsen and the more resentment among the community would grow.”

Dr. Hamid appealed to the conscience of the nation to ameliorate the condition of Muslims by paying heed to their genuine grievance of reservation.

Mr. Ram Vilas Pawan, Chemicals, Fertiliser and Steel Minister and president Lok Janshakti Party, said, “Sachar Commission has determined the Muslim community as socially and educational backward section of the society. And, therefore, it is only logical that the Muslim community should be provided reservation in government employment and higher education under the relevant sections of the Constitution for the socio-economic upliftment of the socially and economically backward sections of the population.”

Mr. Paswan also demanded tabling of Justice Ranganath Commission Report at the earliest.

A.B. Bardhan of Communist Party of India, Debabrata Biswas of All India Forward Block, representatives of Janta Dal (S) and Nationalist Congress Party, and Christian leader Fr. Dominic Emmanuel and Jail leader Bal Patil also endorsed the Muslims’ demand for reservation.

The second session chaired by Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari, Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, provided the delegates and participants to interact.

And the third and final session chaired by Dr. Zafarul-Islam Khan, president All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat and Editor Milli Gazette, discussed the Draft Resolution and then adopted it with voice vote.

One of the resolutions sought publication of the Justice Mishra Commission Report on backward religious and linguistic minorities. It also demanded implementation of the Commission’s basic recommendations, namely “15 per cent reservation for minorities, with 10 per cent exclusively for the Muslims, along with the unutilised portion of the other five per cent.”

Another resolution asked the government to move the Supreme Court to remove the 50 per cent ceiling on reservation, while supporting the exclusion of the creamy layer from quotas and sub-quotas.

Yet another resolution urged community organisations to guide the Muslim electorate to support “only such secular parties which are committed to reservation for Muslims”.

In a separate resolution the Convention appealed to all secular political parties to exert due pressure on the government for urgent action on the recommendations of Justices Sahcar and Mishra Reports, particularly in respect of inclusion of Dalit Muslims in SC lists and at least 10 per cent reservation for Muslims in public employment, education, development and welfare benefits and flow of capital resources.