Calling for change in the “system of affirmative action”, former Congress MP Mani Shankar Aiyar on Thursday said educationally backward Muslims should be included in OBCs and Christian dalits in Scheduled Castes for giving reservation in education and jobs.
“You need affirmative action to deal with social problems. But if we have a model of economic growth, a more equitable than the present one is, then we will be able to address the problem,” he said at a seminar in New Delhi.
Noting that he sees no reason why the present system of affirmative action should not undergone change, the former Petroleum Minister said while Muslim dalits cannot be included in Scheduled Caste list as they don’t have any dalits, Christan dalits should certainly be included.
“If you have to make changes in the system and one of first changes that I want to see is that Christian dalits should be included in the reservation for Scheduled Castes,” Aiyar said.
But the same cannot be said about Muslim dalits as “the Muslim community says that they don’t have dalits.”
“But in the Christian community, they have been saying so and I think that it is shameful that we have not included them,” he said.
However, when it comes to other backward classes (OBCs), “I see no reason at all why Muslims who are at least educationally backward (cannot be included in OBCs)… they fall within the definition of Article 15 and 16 of the Constitution. I see no reason at all why Muslims should not be included in the OBCs,” he said.
Aiyar said, “In effect, if you are Scheduled Caste, you are very lucky not to be poor and if you are poor, you are very lucky not to be Scheduled Caste.”