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Maharashtra approves 5% reservation for Muslims in government jobs, education
Wednesday June 25, 2014 8:45 PM, & Agencies

The Maharashtra cabinet led by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan Tuesday has given its nod to 4.5% reservation for Muslims in the education sector and government jobs.

[Muslims in Maharashtra in May 2013 had taken a paidal march from Malegaon to Mumbai demanding reservation. photo]

The Congress Party and Muslim parties hailed the decision while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders called it 'unconstitutional'.

Congress leader Manish Tewari said that his party has always treated the minority related issues with utmost significance to ensure democratic system.

"The UPA has always believed in development of the minority to ensure democracy. We have always tried to bring the minority in the mainstream. If the Maharashtra government has made reservations for the Muslims they would be in a better position to justify it," said Tewari.

Muslim Cleric Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali said that it was a welcome move, which will help the Muslim community to move forward.

"The reservation that Maharashtra govt has announced we welcome that. This would benefit in development of the Muslim community in Maharashtra," said Mahali.

Meanwhile, BJP President in Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, termed it as unconstitutional.

"The constitution framed by Ambedkar did not have any provision for reservation on basis of caste. If there is something in the constitution then we would support it by we condemn any government decision against the constitution based on caste where the government is just trying to woo Muslim votes. This decision would not stand anywhere in a court," Fadnavis said.

Talks of Congress contemplating Chavan's replacement in Maharashtra made rounds in the political circle in the wake of the party's drubbing in the recent general polls.

The committee headed by Dr. Mehmoodur Rehman (IAS) in its report submitted to the government in October 2013 had recommended reservation for Muslims based on their population.

Reservations already exist among OBCs for a section of Marathas, known as Kunbis. Maratha Kunbis, who are largely agriculturists, constituted 31.5 per cent of the population. They have a large presence in Vidarbha and Konkan.

Today, a total 356 backward castes get 19 per cent reservations, 51 scheduled castes and tribes get 11 per cent and 11 other castes in the special backward category get 2 per cent.

A committee headed by Indystry Minister Narayan Rane has also recommended similar reservation for Marathas.

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