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Published in the 16-31 Aug 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Muslims of Gujarat demand reservation 

Muslims of Gujarat, especially those affected by the riots in the aftermath of Godhra incident, have welcomed Andhra Pradesh government’s decision to grant reservation to Muslims and demanded reservation for themselves also.

Though the Congress Party is silent on Gujarat Muslims’ demand for reservation, extremist Hindu organisations like the VHP and RSS have described this demand as unconstitutional. According to Mukhtar Mohammad, who has been working to help riot-affected people, Muslims in Gujarat deserve reservation, especially in police and judiciary because their presence in these services is virtually nil today. He is of the view that for Muslims the only way to lead a respectable life is possible through reservation.

Maulana Hakimuddin Qasmi, general secretary of Gujarat Jamiatul Ulama, says that Andhra Pradesh government has taken a bold and just step by granting reservation to Muslims. In fact, all Muslims of the country are in need of reservation, particularly the Muslims of Gujarat.

Haneef Lakdawala, a human rights activist and and an influential person in Gujarat, said in a statement that Muslims had suffered irreparable loss of life and property during the riots and their future generations would not be able to compensate those damages. Their wounds could be healed to some extent by giving them reservation.

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