Rajnath Raps Government For Muslim Reservation
While the nation-wide rage against FDI in retail has gripped India, the government seems to have hurt the poor OBC as well by the Union Law Minister’s announcement of quota to Muslims from what is reserved 27 per cent for OBCs. Reacting strongly on it, former BJP President Rajnath Singh said that the government was violating the basic tenets of Constitution by mulling religion-based reservation. “The central government constituted the Sachchar Committee for counting the number of Muslims in the forces, judiciary and other departments,” he said. And now, against the basic tenets of Constitution, a move is being taken to give reservation on the basis of religion,” Mr Singh told Uday India.
“RESERVATION WILL BE FOR ALL MINORITIES, NOT ONLY FOR MUSLIMS”—Salman Khurshid
Union Law and Justice and Minority Affairs Minister
Known for his sharp wit and articulation Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid has announced Muslim reservation keeping in view the assembly in UP. In an interview to Shvveta Arora, he spoke on this issue. Excerpts: before the upciming polls.
How strong do you find yourself in Uttar Pradesh?
We are absolutely on a very strong footing and we will come back with a thumping majority. The United Progressive Alliance II government has completed half its term and has to take stock of what it has done and what is left to be done.
What game plan do you strategise ahead of the assembly polls?
We will convince people that Congress is serious about Lokpal. Besides amending land acquisition law, we will also raise issues favouring the poor, the dalit and the youth. A separate quota of 6 per cent will be given to Muslims soon. The reservations will be in central government jobs in accordance with the recommendations of the Sachar Committee and the recommendations of the Rangnath Commission. Reservation for minorities was a commitment made by the Congress-led central government which had to be fulfilled—a share for Muslims within the 27 per cent quota for OBCs is being considered. Reservation for minorities is a commitment we made in our manifesto and there have been consistent demands for it. So the government has decided and we are considering it.
Why is this quota proposed for only backward Muslims from OBC quotas? why not for the whole community as many Muslim leaders ask?
It’s too early to say and I find nothing jumping for conclusions. Reservation for backward Muslims would be a step forward in helping marginalised Muslims. The government is considering a share for Muslims in the 27 per cent quota in government jobs and educational institutions for OBCs. The Sachar Committee report, appointed in 2005, pointed out the poor development of Muslims, hence recommended an equal opportunity and better educational facilities for them. The Ranganath Misra Commission report too recommended 10 per cent reservation for all Muslims in jobs, educational and welfare schemes. We have now completed two-and-a-half years of our term at Center. When we start keeping our promises media call it politics. However, we at fulfilling our promises.
Is not introducing Muslim quota before the upcoming polls in UP to woo the Muslim vote, a political game?
Should we stop working ahead of the polls in the state? Whatever we think is our responsibility. We are doing in the way we should. Of 27 per cent OBC quota in jobs, the government is examining to fix a quota for backward Muslims. The issue has been on the government’s agenda for the last two years and a decision was pending. The Congress also backed the government on the move to provide reservations to minorities within OBC quota with the promise made in party’s manifesto for 2009 polls which talked of extending reservation to minorities on the central level. For having reservation within reservation for backward minorities as done in Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, we are hopeful of fulfilling our commitment. We are working on it, ahead of assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh. The work won’t suffer if elections were round the corner.
How do you define quota in general and the quota for Muslims?
In general, reservation will be for all the minorities and not just for Muslims. The issue of reservation for minorities does not concern Muslims alone. The reservation will be for the minorities only. But 85 per cent of the minorities are Muslims. So when there will be reservation for minorities, then there is no doubt that 85 per cent of the advantage will also go to Muslims. This is again a fact and the reservation would be given on the basis of backwardness and not just on the basis of caste or creed. I would like to add that a proper decision would be taken only after there is a common consensus on the percentage they deserve through the route of OBCs.
Stating that one needed to look at who were the minorities in a particular state or a region before giving them reservation as minorities, he said: “Everyone should be given equal opportunities and should be treated equally, not on basis of religion. Such practices only promote separatism and religion should not remain a basis of reservation at all.”
Mr Singh further said: “Our Constitution does not allow reservations based on religion. Many courts too have objected to such reservations. When the concept of reservations was introduced by Dr Ambedkar, it was because many castes and communities were deprived of development. They still are. Therefore SCs & OBCs still deserve reservations and facilities.” He further stated: “As far as I know, even today, minority institutions do not give reservation to SCs/STs and this reservation will only encourage conversion.”
Meanwhile, the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) fraternity has asked the Congress to adopt a reservation model mooted by former BJP Chief Minister Rajnath Singh in the state. Prominent members of the AMU community under the banner of Millat Bedari Muhim Committee (MBMC), Aligarh and Forum for Muslim Studies and Analysis (FMSA), laid emphasis on the above-mentioned model and conveyed their sentiments to the Congress chief in a letter stressing that their demands be met if the party wanted their support in the upcoming polls. The letter has been signed by 109 prominent persons all of whom have been part of AMU at some point of time. The body has urged the Congress to take a lead from former UP Chief Minister, Rajnath Singh who had introduced the quota for Most Backward Class (MBC) in the state.
The VHP International Secretary General Dr Pravin Togadia, while talking to Uday India, said, “One after another decision by the government has been proving that the government is specifically targeting Hindus. When they came to power, they repealed POTA and gave free hand to jehadi terrorists; then they created NIA to put Hindus in jail; then they increased fuel prices to benefit Middle East’s petro-jehadis; then all prices were jacked up to facilitate entry of FDI in retail so that majority Hindu traders, small and medium businesses, farmers and customers in short and long-term lose everything in life and now Union Law Minister announces that he would send a proposal to the cabinet to be passed for Muslim quota from OBCs 27 per cent. The intension is clear: The government wants that no Sanatani, Jain, Sikh should ever survive in Bharat. Snatching the facilities of the poor, backward communities from OBC, the government is giving them to Muslims. This is truly a reservation jehad by the government against Hindus and others. There are around 175 sub-castes in OBCs and government’s decision to give part of their quota to Muslims will hurt them immensely.”
Dr Togadia demanded immediate withdrawal of all such proposals giving any reservations to Muslims or other minorities either from the quota of OBCs, SCs, STs or even independent quota. He also appealed to all SCs, OBCs, STs and all other castes to come together and stand together as one to prevent further breaking of Bharat, which will soon go in the hands of reservation jehadis.
By Sudhanshu Jain