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19 July 2011

Popular Front of India suggests formula for Muslim reservation, writes letter to Salman Khurshid

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By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: Popular Front of India chairman E. M. Abdul Rahiman in a letter written to Salman Khurshid, Minister for Law & Minority Affairs, has urged the Union Government to solve the issue of Muslim reservation incorporating all genuine demands that came from the Muslim community.

The letter has referred to recent reported statement by the minister that the consultation process over the subject of Muslim reservation is over and the Union Home Ministry was set to submit the final proposal after a meeting of all ministries and governmental agencies to be convened for the purpose.

The formula suggested by Popular Front of India comprises providing reservation to all Muslims all over the country, along with giving due consideration to OBC and Dalit requirements. The excerpts from the letter are as follows: 1. All Muslims in all states must be declared as either Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC) or Other Backward Class (OBC); 2. An executive order must be issued by the Central Government earmarking 10 per cent reservation for Muslims and 5 per cent reservation for other religious minorities in all central appointments and admission to central educational institutions as recommended by Justice Mishra Commission; 3. While appointments and admissions are made under Muslim reservation quota, those Muslim categories that are already in the OBC list must be given preferential treatment over others; 4. Those Muslim categories that are occupationally equivalent to Dalits must be included under the purview of Article 341 by amending the Constitution (SC) order, 1950 and the total quota percentage of Scheduled Caste reservation must be proportionately enhanced; 5. Muslim quota of 10 per cent must be earmarked over and above the existing 27 per cent OBC quota and if Muslims are included in the OBC list, the present OBC quota of 27 per cent must be proportionately enhanced; 6. If Muslims are included in the enhanced OBC quota, there must be separate sub-quota for Muslims within the OBC quota and all appointments and admissions must be based on a rostrum that indicate the turns of each merit and community appointments following the pattern prevalent in Kerala and Karnataka & 7. The ceiling of 50 per cent on total reservation imposed by the Supreme Court of India must be overcome by legislative measures as is the case now with reservation quota in Tamil Nadu state. This is necessary to facilitate the new 10% quota for Muslims in addition to the existing reservation quota of 49.5 per cent (22.5 per cent for SC/ST and 27 per cent for OBC).

Popular Front chairman Abdul Rahiman has expressed the opinion that inclusion of Muslims who are at present not in the OBC list without enhancing the existing 27 per cent will invite opposition from existing OBCs, a situation not favourable to the cause of Muslim reservation. He further pointed out that the inclusion of certain Muslim categories in SC list will meet the same fate, if SC quota is not subsequently enhanced.

The National Executive Council meeting of Popular Front held recently has decided to launch the next phase of agitation for reservation in association with other community and social organisations that are interested in the issue.

[Pervez Bari is a Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]

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