By Faisal Fareed
With the Maharashtra government announcing five percent reservation to 50 backward castes of Muslims, the community is now mounting pressure on the Akhilesh Yadav government in Uttar Pradesh reminding him of his party’s poll promise of giving reservation to Muslims.
Samajwadi Party had in its manifesto for 2012 Assembly election, promised to consider all Muslims as most backwards like Dalits and to provide them reservation in proportion to their population. In UP, nearly 30 castes of Muslims are already included in the 27 per cent quota for backwards.
“We are awaiting the notification of the announcement by the Maharashtra government. However, the new announcement (16 per cent quota for Marathas and 5 per cent for Muslims) will take the reservation quota to 73 per cent in that state. We will legally examine it before taking up the issue,” Zafaryab Jilani, Additional Advocate General of UP government said.
Jilani is also an executive committee member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and is advocating Muslim reservation issue with the state government.
The Akhilesh government had initiated an exercise to grant Muslims reservation in 2012. Minority Welfare Minister Azam Khan had constituted a four-member committee, including secretary and director of minority welfare department, senior advocate Mushtaq Ahmed Siddiqui and Azam’s OSD Afaq Ahmed, to study the subject and submit a report. “
“We studied the reservation model of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. We had concluded that there is no restriction and state government can proceed ahead in giving reservation to the Muslims,” Mushtaq Ahmed said. The report was given to Azam Khan who himself had stated on several occasions that the state government is contemplating a foolproof model, which can pass the scrutiny of the court.
After an unfavourable results in Lok Sabha polls, the issue was shelved as SP was accused of appeasing the Muslims ignoring the interests of other communities. With Maharashtra government’s decision, the issue has again come into focus.”
“Now, when the reservation is exceeding 50 per cent in several states, there is no restriction. We will take up the issue with Azam Khan and with state government and ask them to fulfil the promise they made,” Mushtaq Ahmed, said.
State government has already rejected the idea of sub-quota within quota of backwards for Muslims. The 8.44 backward Muslim population is covered under 27 per cent backward quota. Already backward communities had raised objection as it would mean a cut in their shar”. “There is no harm if reservation exceeds 50 per cent. On religious grounds it is not possible, but on backward status, it can be done,” Mushtaq added.