Muslim leaders launch national movement for Muslim reservation

By Mumtaz Alam Falahi,,

New Delhi: The Muslim community in India should be recognized as a Backward Class and should be given reservation along with SCs, STs, and OBCs, demanded Joint Committee of Muslim Organizations for Empowerment (JCMOE) at the end of a national convention for Muslim reservation in New Delhi today.

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JCMOE, formed recently for the sole purpose of Muslim reservation, has demanded formal recognition of the Muslim community as a Backward Class in the light of the findings and recommendations of the Sachar Committee and Ranganath Mishra Commission, as already done by some states like Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.

Syed Shahabuddin

JCMOE “urges the immediate publication of the Mishra Commission Report, full implementation of its basic recommendations, namely, 15% reservation for the minorities, with 10% exclusively for the Muslims, along with the unutilized portion of the other 5%, and the deletion of para 3 of the Constitution (SC) Order 1950, issued under Article 341 of the Constitution for the inclusion of Muslim and Christian Dalits in the SC List.”

Speaking at the convention, attended by leaders and representatives of religious organizations and some political parties from across the country, Syed Shahabuddin, ex-MP and convenor of JCMOE, said Muslims should be given reservation not as a religious minority but as a backward class.

“The Muslim community today is demanding reservation as a Backward Class, as a deprived group, who is almost as backward as the SC/ST and more backward than the non-Muslim OBCs. It is not staking any historical claim or desiring any preferential or special dispensation, Syed Shahabuddin said.”

“The Muslim community which has been recognized as a Backward Class by the Sachar Committee as well as by the Mishra Commission should be recognized as such by the Central and all state governments,” he said.

He also demanded definition of Creamy Layer in a realistic manner and its revision every 10 year in order to achieve the real purpose of reservation.

Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind said the Sachar Report has established that the governments have been biased against the Muslim community, so it is necessary for them to grant reservation to the community for its social, economic and education progress. He assured the JCMOE leaders that Jamaat will give its full support to the Muslim reservation movement.

Dr Zafarul Islam Khan, president, All India Muslim Majlise Mushawarat, said that the movement for Muslim reservation is gaining momentum. “In 1994 no one was supporting Muslim reservation, today 12 political parties are favoring it,” he said and added that along with the demand, the community should continue striving for progress on their own in all fields.

Shahnawaz Ali Raihan, secretary, Students Islamic Organization of India, told the elders to offer full support of the youth organization to the movement for reservation. Speaking on the occasion Raihan said as Muslims constitute 13.4% of total population and compared to SC/ST 90% of the community is backward, 12% reservation should be given to them. He also called for a nationwide movement against casteism and communalism – both hard and soft communalism.

Popular Front of India president E M Abdur Rahiman said the demand for Muslim reservation will require a sustained and continuous struggle and the community should be ready for it. “Whatever reservation Muslims have got in the South is the result of five-decade efforts of social organizations,” he said.

Echoing him Justice Yameen (Retd. Judge of Rajasthan High Court) said the Muslim community should get ready for a long fight for this cause. Giving example of Gujjar movement he said that community has sacrificed its 25 members for reservation which is still a dream.

The national convention on Muslim reservation has also demanded that the OBC Muslims who have been left out of the OBC Lists in several states should be included at the earliest both at the centre and in states.

It has appealed to all secular political parties to exert due pressure on the government for urgent action on the recommendations of the Sachar and Mishra Reports, and urged Muslims to support only the secular parties which are committed to reservation for Muslims and field adequate number of Muslim candidates in all Muslim-winnable constituencies.

The organizers had invited leading secular parties including Congress, Samajwadi Party, CPI, CPM and Lok Janshakti Party. Except AB Bardhan of CPI and Ram Vilas Paswan of LJP no other political leader attended the convention. Talking to some journalists after the programme, Syed Shahabuddin said he had written three letters to Sonia Gandhi requesting her to attend the program but he got no response.

JCMOE, which has in its fold all major Muslim organizations including Jamiat Ulema-I-Hind, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, All India Muslim Majlise Mushawarat, All India Milli Council and Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadis, has launched a national movement for Muslim reservation and appealed to Muslim community and organizations to rise above all considerations and participate in the movement wholeheartedly.