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06 April 2012

SPECIAL REPORT: Maulana Asrarul Haque Qasmi demands reservation for Muslims, removal of encroachments from Waqf properties

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By Manzar Imam

New Delhi: In his Parliamentary speech during the general budget session (2012), Member of Parliament, Maulana Mohammad Asrarul Haque Qasmi stressed the need to remove those possibilities in the Right to Education Act (RTE) that might contradict with Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution. This, he said was indispensable because of restlessness in madrasas and at the same time he demanded to exempt religious institutions and welfare trusts from direct taxing.

While drawing the government’s attention to the Centre of Aligarh Muslim University at Kishanganj, the Parliamentary Constituency that he represents, Maulana Qasmi said that people of Bihar’s Purnea Commissionerate and Uttar Dinajpur in West Bengal were looking hopefully towards the Centre for an educational revolution in the area.

Maulana Asrarul Haque Qasmi
He said that while some Centres were established, the AMU Centre at Kishanganj was yet to open despite a land agreement having been signed between AMU and the Sate Government of Bihar. He demanded immediate allocation of fund for the Centre and removal of barriers if there were any. Not doing so would otherwise result in great public dismay, he said.

The Maulana called the 4.5 percent reservation for poor Muslims under the 27 % reservation for OBCs insufficient and demanded that it be increased as per recommendations of Mandal Commission to the tune of 8.5 percent. He also suggested to give reservation to Dalit members of society who embraced Islam. Economic conditions do not change by changing one’s religion, said he and asked to remove the hurdle from Section 341 by a Presidential decree on the lines of 1950 according to which Dalits accepting Christianity, Sikhism and Buddhism were entitled to reservation whereas it was denied to those Dalits who accepted Islam.

While demanding removal of illegal encroachments from Waqf properties, Maulana Qasmi said that there were large Waqf properties and if they acted on Waqf Act with little modification, the annual income could go up to Rs 12 thousand crore which could be spent on Muslim welfare and this could also help improve the educational and economic condition of Muslims to some extent. He further said that the illegal occupation of Waqf properties was incurring huge losses to Muslims. Although the Waqf Act (1995) exists, it is very necessary for larger benefit to get the Waqf Amendment Bill legal shape by implementing the recommendations of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Waqf keeping in view the demands of Muslims.

Terming corruption as a curse, the Kishanganj MP also drew the government’s attention to communalism. He said that communalism was a regular phenomenon and there was no let-up in it. Initiatives to fight terrorism are being taken but steps are not taken to fight communalism the way it is needed. The arrests of innocent Muslim youths in the country especially in Bihar need special attention. Our country is founded on principles of secularism and communal elements are trying hard to weaken it, he added.

[Manzar Imam is Special Correspondent of IndianMuslimObserver.com. He can be reached at manzarkhalil@gmail.com]

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