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Muslim MPs say reservation alone can help community
Sunday, March 14, 2010 01:14:53 PM, IANS
The mammoth public meeting on March 13 organised by Muslim United Forum at Darussalam, the headquarters of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM)
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Hyderabad: Four Muslim members of parliament have demanded 10 percent reservation for Muslims across the country as recommended by the Ranganath Mishra Commission and a sub-quota for Muslim women in the proposed 33 percent reservation for women in parliament and state assemblies.
The MPs, including three Rajya Sabha members who were suspended during the debate on the women’s reservation bill, said reservation alone could improve the lot of Muslims and enable them to participate in the development process.
The MPs were addressing a mammoth public meeting organised by Muslim United Forum at Darussalam, the headquarters of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) here Saturday night.
MIM president and Lok Sabha member from Hyderabad Asaduddin Owaisi warned the Congress party that it would lose the support of Muslims in the 2014 elections if it failed to provide reservation to the community.
The meeting attended by thousands of Muslims from various parts of Andhra Pradesh passed a resolution urging the Congress government in the state to clear all legal and constitutional hurdles in the way of Muslim reservation.
The meeting, presided over by All Indian Muslim Personal Law Board secretary Abdul Raheem Qureshi, faulted the Andhra Pradesh High Court’s recent order setting aside four percent reservation to backward classes among Muslims in jobs and education and urged the government to present a strong case while challenging the order in Supreme Court.
Rajya Sabha MP belonging to Samajwadi Party Kamal Akhtar termed the meeting a beginning of a national movement for Muslim reservation across the country. It was resolved to hold similar meetings in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and other states.
The MPs alleged that Muslims had been facing discrimination in every sphere of life and reservation was being denied to them despite several commissions and committees concluding that they lagged behind Dalits.
“Vote hamara raj tumhara nahi chalega (you can’t continue to rule with our votes),” Owaisi, an ally of United Progressive Alliance (UPA), told Congress party.
Voicing concern over the declining Muslim representation in parliament, he said this was not good for secularism.
“There was not a single Muslim MP elected from 11 states which have 236 seats. Out of 7,901 MPs in 15 parliaments so far, there were only 470 Muslims,” the MIM chief said.
“How long the Muslims will be asked to protect secularism? Now it is the test of secularism of major political parties of the country,” the MP said.
“Those who were raising a hue and cry over so called suppression of Muslim women turned silent when we demanded reservation for Muslim women,” Owaisi said pointing out that only 14 Muslim women were elected to parliament since Independence.
Rajya Sabha members Saber Ali of Lok Janashakti Party and Ijaz Ali (Independent) blamed the Congress for the backwardness of the community. “Reservation is constitutional right of Muslims and the community deserves it,” said Saber Ali.
The MPs clarified that they were not against reservation for women but only wanted a sub quota for Muslim women as they were more backward compared to women from other communities.
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