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4.5% job quota for minorities, not for Muslims alone: K Rehman Khan
Saturday May 18, 2013 8:45 PM, ummid.com Staff Reporter

Even as hundreds of Muslim Reservation Forum (MRF) activists began the 300-kmrts long march to Mumbai from Malegaon on Friday, Minority Affairs Minister K Rehman Khan virtually ruled out reservation on the basis of religion. He however said that the government was committed to providing job quota to minorities.

"The constitution does not allow giving reservation on the basis of religion. The government however is committed to giving 4.5% reservation to the minorities.", he said while talking to ummid.com on phone.

He did not elaborate on what basis the government is mulling reservation for the minorities.

There are five notified minorities in India. They are Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs and Parsis. Muslims are largest among them all. Though the government estimates their population in India betwteen 13-14%, the Muslims claim that their population in the country is about 20%.

He also that the reservation issue was in the Supreme Court and a decision would be taken once the Supreme Court takes a decision. "We are defending the Andhra Pradesh High Court order on the reservation in the Supreme Court. After the Supreme Court ruling, a decision on the issue will be taken", he said.

The Congress-led government in Andhra Pradesh had given 4.5 per cent central sub-quota for minorities within the OBC quota. The Andhra Pradesh high court however struck it down holding that reservations can't be based purely on religious grounds. The government later challenged the judgement in the Supreme Court.

In reply to a question he said that there was no question of constitutional amendment on the issue. "We will be giving 4.5% reservation to the minorities out of the 27% OBC quota. It will not need any constitutional amendment", he said.

Hundreds of Maharashtra Muslims under the banner of Muslim Reservation Federation (MRF) set off on the 300-kmtrs long paidal-march from Malegaon to Mumbai on Friday late in the afternoon to press the government to give 20% reservation to the largest minority group in India.

Preparations for the march was on ever since then with Asif Shaikh Rasheed, the founder and convener of the Muslim Reservation Federation (MRF) – an organisation formed about six months ago, criss-crossing the entire state to mobilise the support for what he called as the historic event to seek reservation for the Muslims in India considered to be among the most backwards and alienated groups.

"The only way to empower the Muslims in the country is reservation in government jobs and other public sector units. We want the government to give 20% reservation to the Muslims before the year 2014. No more promises, we want it now", he said amid thundering applauds before setting off for the march.

With the help of statistics he said that the situation for the Muslims post Sachar Committee Report had worsened. He also said that the Sachar Committee had recommended reservation for Muslims, not for the minorities.

"The Sachar Committee Report had recommended reservation as one of the remedies for the backwardness of the alienated community. However, five years after this report, situation at the ground level has become worse", he said.

President of Jamiatul Ulema Maharashtra Hafiz Nadeem Siddiqui, who came from Nanded to extend support for the march, warned the Congress led government of the political consequences if it did not take the necessary decision on the issue.

"If reservation can be given to Muslims in Andhra Pradesh, why not in Maharashtra? Is the state ruled by RSS?", he asked.

He also said that their protest would be intensified if their demands were not met.

"This is just a beginning. If the government doesn't accept our demands even now, a jail bharo andolan will be started all across the state'", said Hafiz Nadeem Siddiqui.

Stating that the development of the country is linked with the development of Muslims and other backwards, Kul Jamaati Tanzeem leader Abdul Hameed Azhari said, "Maharashtra has more than 10% Muslims. But there is not a single Muslim parliamentarian from the state. On this basis, can we call the parliament a representative one?", he asked.

"The country cannot flourish till appropriate share is given to Muslims and other downtrodden", he said.

Member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) Hafiz Umrain said that if the government failed to accept their demand even now, it should be ready to shun the power.

"Muslims have realised their vote-power. No party can come to power without our support. Accept our demands if you want our support in the coming election", he said.


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