Preparation in full swing for national meet on Muslim reservation

By TCN News,

New Delhi: Preparations are in full swing for the February 10 national meet on Muslim reservation to be held here in the national capital at the active efforts of Joint Committee of Muslim Organisations for Empowerment and National Movement For Muslim Reservation, both headed by ex-MP Syed Shahabuddin.

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It is expected that nearly 500 activists from all over the country shall participate in the Meet. The Organizing Committee has invited Mr. Saiyid Hamid, Chancellor, Jamia Hamdard, to inaugurate the Meet. He has kindly consented. The session I of the Meet shall be chaired by eminent economist, Dr. Abusaleh Shariff, former Member-Secretary of Justice Sachar Committee. The Session II shall be chaired by Mr. Zafar Saifullah, IAS (Retired), Former Cabinet Secretary to the Govt. of India

The Organizing Committee has received the intimations from groups of activists arriving from all parts of the country, from Gujarat to Assam and from North to South. The Meet shall be attended by delegates from all known Muslim organization like JIH, JUH, JAH, AIMC, AISC. The Popular front of India based in Karnataka the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Khazagam, All India Federation of Muslim Backward Classes in Mumbai, the Muslim Reservation Movement in UP the Milli Muttaheda Mahaz, Bihar, will participate in the Meet apart from some Muslim MPs and Muslim political leaders who belong to different political parties

The objective of the Meet is to build up Muslim unity & coordination of all marginalized groups which would contribute towards crystallization of political support for implementation of the Mishra Report. The Report is likely to come for discussion in the Parliament in the Budget Session.

The second important purpose of the Meet is to mobilize public opinion by responding to the criticism of the report as divisive, as encouragement for conversion of Hindu SC’s to Islam and Christianity, and paving the way for another division of the country. All those come from the communal forces which intuitively reject any proposal from any quarter which may benefit the Muslims.

The Meet has therefore to formulate its strategy as well as to chalk out a democratic and peaceful Programme of Action in order to press the government & political parties to consider the Report seriously & to convince them that the masses are basically secular and believe inequality and justice for all and that Muslim Reservation has today become the litmus test for secularism.

Many Muslim organizations have been active in the field for the last one year some have launched state-wise or nation-wide yatras to propagate the message of the Mishra Report. The Meet shall press the government to act on the promises and repeated proclamations of inclusive development, partnership in governance and social justice in distribution of assets and fruits of progress.

The National Commission on Religious and Linguistic Minorities with Justice Ranganath Mishra, former Chief Justice of India, as the Chairman was notified in October, 20004 and submitted this Report in May 2007. For reasons best known to itself the Government took two and a half years to table it in the Parliament and that too, without any Action Taken Report or even Comments on the Recommendation of the Commission. The Recommendation, unique and unprecedented since Independence has therefore been received with enthusiasm & hope by the Muslim community. In the past, the draft constitution was charged at the last stage to deprive Muslims of reservation. Neither the Mandal Commission nor the Gopal Singh Panel Report nor the Prime Minister’s 15 Point Programme, in several incarnations, have made much difference to the social, educational & economic situation of the Community.

The great contribution of the Mishra Commission is that while successive government have recognized the fact of relative backwardness of the Muslim Community, as did the Mandal Commission the Sachar Report, and promised ‘due’ or ‘reasonable’ or ‘possible’ share in government jobs to the Muslims or to show special consideration’ to them in the field of public recruitment & education, Mishra Commission has for the first time quantified the Muslim quota in term of 15 % for all minorities, of which 10 % exclusively for the Muslims.

The second great breakthrough by the Commission is the Recommendation that the Constitution (Schedule Caste) Order, 1950, which the Commission has found anti-secular and unconstitutional be amended Clause 3, which originally confined Schedule Caste status to Hindus, be deleted. The Commission has recommended that there should be no religious discrimination in the provision of reservation to those who come from the same stock and have occupational parity & Muslim & Christian Dalits should be included in the SC Lists.

The third break-through of the Commission is that it has not only proposed reservation for religious minorities under Article 15 (4) but going beyond it to Article 16(4) for reservation in public employment without subjecting backwardness to any qualification.

Fourthly, it has allowed reservation for the minorities as one of the ‘weaker section’ under Article 46 of the Constitution.

The Commission has proposed other important legal and administrative modalities for uplifting the minorities. It has proposed that reservation should not be ad-hoc and that the relative level of backwardness of all groups should be determined through development-oriented Census, based on socio-economic parameters and that Supreme Court lay the guideline for all groups and sub-groups. Reservation quota would thus not be an exercise in official charity but the performance of a constitutional duty.

The Commission has also questioned the correctness of the Supreme Court in laying down a Ceiling of 50 % on total reservation on ground of so-called merit and efficiency and indicated that a uniform ceiling for a country in which there a vast differences in the number of backward-classes and their levels of backwardness from state to state is not correct.

The Mishra Commission recommendation has the Muslim community and several Muslim organizations and groups have launched campaigns for the Muslim reservation. Around this time, Popular Front of India has launched two-month long National campaign for Muslim reservation on 1st February in Pune. PFI will hold programs in more than two dozen cities covering all regions having considerable Muslim population.

On the other hand, Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind is also running a campaign in West Bengal demanding the state government for 20% reservation to the community that constitutes 30% of the state population.