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Muslim reservation due to backwardness, not because of religion: Syed Shahabuddin


Tuesday, February 02, 2010 03:20:31 PM, Pervez Bari,

Syed Shahabuddin, ex-Member of Parliament, addressing the public meeting of Popular Front of India held in Pune for National Campaign for Muslm reservation on Sunday.

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Bhopal: The Popular Front of India’s two-month long National Campaign for Muslim Reservation kicked off with the grand Public Meeting held at Pune in Maharashtra on Sunday where in about 5000 people sat in rapt silence to hear to the leaders views on the reasons of their pathetic plight and its remedy to uplift them from the quagmire of illiteracy and poverty.


According to a Press release issued by Sajid Qureshi, Program Convenor, the public meeting was formally inaugurated by Syed Shahabuddin, ex Member of Parliament, who is Coordinator NMMR & Editor of Muslim India magazine also, while Popular Front chairman E. M. Abdur Rahiman presided. Others who expressed their views on the occasion included: Suresh Khairnar, National Convener, National Secular Forum; Maulana Usman Baig Rashadi, president All India Imam Council; Subhash Ware, Socialist Front; Maulana Razeen Ashraf, president All India Imams Council, Maharashtra state unit;  Hafiz Manzoor Ali Khan, president, Muslim Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti, Rajasthan State; Abdul Hannan, general Secretary, Social Democratic Party India, Karnataka State.


In his inaugural address Syed Shahabuddin reportedly stated that Muslims and other backward sections ask for reservation not as a favour but as a democratic fundamental right which cannot be denied.


“The argument raised by certain vested interest groups against giving reservation to Muslims are baseless and against the spirit of the Indian Constitution. Muslims are eligible for reservation because of their relative backwardness and not because of their religious faith”, Shahabuddin reasoned.


"In fact denying reservation to Muslims is a discrimination on religious grounds,” Shahabuddin remarked. He also pointed out that 50 per cent ceiling on total reservation put by the Supreme Court is not irrevocable and can be changed.


E. M. Abdur Rahiman in his presidential address said Popular Front has undertaken the task of campaigning for the Muslim Reservation as part of its agenda of equally empowering the depressed classes.

Elaborating Abdur Rahiman said Popular Front is a social movement which strives for the equal empowerment of all sections in the Indian society.


“We are a “Naya Caravan for a Naya Hindustan”, that is, for “A New India of Equal Rights to All Indians”. We are a movement emerged from within the Muslim community. But we at the service of not only Muslims, but all human beings, especially all those who are deprived of their rights and denied equal justice. We have been working in the southern parts of this country since the last 15 years preparing the Muslim community to come out of their backwardness and minority syndrome, to get empowered to play a positive role in India”, he asserted.


Continuing he said:“Also we are of the view that while the community has to stop blaming others for all problems and strive for its own future, the government also has to fulfill its constitutional responsibility of providing equal justice to minorities and backward classes”.


Abdur Rahiman said by launching this campaign for reservation, Popular Front aims to create an atmosphere conducive for reservation to Muslims.  We very well know that public opinion plays a vital role in framing the party and state policies.  Hence, I wish to emphasize that our campaign is not addressed to the sentiments of a particular community, but to the conscience of every section of the society irrespective of religion, culture, caste and community.

He called upon the secular forces and political fronts to take a principal stand on the issue. However, he urged all the Muslims not to wait further for the mercy from others, but to start striving themselves.


“Justice (Retd.) Sachchar Committee has rightly diagnosed the problem and Justice (Retd.) Ranganath Mishra Commission prescribed the remedy. The Sachchar Committee has convinced the nation that the Muslims are most backward and the Mishra Commission recommended reservation in education & employment to all Muslims", Abdur Rahiman explained.


"Hence, it is not a merely Muslim cause but a national responsibility to deliver justice to Muslims,” Abdur Rahiman stated. But unfortunately, the Central government has shown no signs of providing reservation to Muslims, he lamented.


Speaking spiritedly he appealed to all sane elements in the society, all social groups and political parties to take up the cause of Muslim reservation and let this caused  not be left to Muslims alone.  “I call upon the Muslims , the activists and supporters of Popular Front in particular, to build better ties with the brothers and sisters belonging to all communities and join hands with all other deprived sections to fight injustice and defend civil rights”, he urged.


Abdur Rahiman moaned that very often complaints are received that in Maharashtra minorities are being discriminated and innocents Muslims are targeted in the name of combating extremism. This happens in spite of the fact that the secular society of the state with the support of minorities has once again elected a Congress-led coalition to the government. 


“Let me painfully note that there was a recent instance in Pune where our activists were harassed, jailed  and falsely implicated in criminal cases for the reason that they have exhibited printed wall posters as elsewhere in this country which demanded to punish the culprits of Babri Masjid demolition in the light of Liberhan Commission report”, he bemoaned. 


“In view of the best interests of the society, I urge the authorities not to go ahead with similar policies and co-operate with our activists in the exercise of their democratic rights and social obligations. On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of Popular Front brothers, I want to make it clear that not force on this earth, by any means, can neither deviate nor defeat us because we are a movement having a very strong ideological foundation and bonds of brotherhood”, he thundered.


He highlighted the historical importance of Pune city as the place where Mahatama Jyoti Phule launched the social revolution of the depressed classes & Dr. Ambedkar signed the Poona Pact.


Abdur Rahiman paying tributes to the memories of Mahatma Phule, who can be righty called the father of social justice movement in India, said he was a scholar, thinker, writer, orator, educationist, social reformer and a great fighter who belonged to a marginalized and exploited class. He fought for the liberation of the downtrodden masses from the clutches of Brahmanism by launching the very first movement for social justice, the Satya Shodak Samaj and leading a political fight as a member of the Pune Municipal Council continuously for six years.


He said the historic document which opened the doors of political power to the large masses of tribals and dalits in India is in the very name of this city – the Poona Pact. This agreement was signed by the champion of depressed classes Dr. B. R. Ambedkar in the year 1932 under the pressure of a hunger strike put by Mahatma Gandhi in Yerwada jail. Though Ambedkar had to withdraw from the demand of separate electorate for the untouchable castes,  the Poona Pact ensured separate reserved constituencies for Scheduled Castes in central and provincial assemblies of British India.  In fact the Poona Pact proved to be the base for the provisions for the adequate representation of the weaker sections that are included in the constitution of independent India.  It is because the responsibility of drafting the Indian constitution was bestowed on the shoulders of Dr. Ambedkar.


Suresh Khairnar pointed out that a country cannot develop until the development is uniform and cover all  classes. Subhash Ware sharply criticised the double standard played by the administration and police in the matter of justice to the Muslims. Maulana Usman Baig call upon the Ulema to stop fighting over trivial issues and play a leading role in  empowering the community.


The State ad hoc Committee for Maharashtra was declared on the occasion by the chairman of PFI. Sadique Qureshi has been nominated as the Maharashtra  State president and Mohammad Sajid as the Secretary. Unlike other Muslim functions in the city, the public meeting was largely attended by women and also people belonging to other communities.


At the outset Sadique Qureshi welcomed the gathering and on conclusion of the public meeting Sajid Qureshi proposed a vote of thanks.


The public meeting was largely attended by women and also people belonging to other communities. The National Campaign for Muslim Reservation now after the kick-start from Pune will be followed by in various parts of India with public awareness programmes including a Parliament March in New Delhi on March 18, the release added.





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