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

Quota for Muslims: AP govt to seek legal opinion
By Ibrahim Usmani

Hyderabad: The Andhra Pradesh Government is seeking opinion of the advocate general on the feasibility of providing five-percent reservation to the Muslim minority without going through the process of appointing a commission. AP Chief Minister YS Rajshekhar Reddy said this after a delegation of Muslim MLAs met him in his office on 31 May. He agreed to accord Backward Class status to Muslims. The Chief Minister has asked officials to study Government Order 86 issued in 1994 under the previous Congress Government, which seeks to provide non-statutory benefits to Muslims in education on the lines of Backward Classes. A demand was made in the meeting to improve the literacy level of the minorities as it was pointed out that literacy percentage among Muslims is too low.

The Chief Minister also reviewed implementation of various welfare schemes for the development of Muslims and agreed in principal to reserve certain quota for them in allotment of house sites and houses. He asked officials to come up with the relevant details during the next meeting, which will be held when the state legislative assembly meets for the budget session.

Meanwhile, speaking at the inauguration of the Study Circle for Arabic at the Maulana Azad Memorial Government Model Junior College for Girls in Hyderabad, Minister for Information and Public Relations, Mohammad Ali Shabbir said on 6 June that the government was committed to the provision of five percent job reservation to Muslims. He also said that it would also implement Government Order 86 which extends the same benefits allotted to students of Scheduled Caste and Backward Class to students belonging to the minority community. 

Mr. Shabbir said that the Congress would allot a percentage of houses to the minorities in the government-housing programme and added that Urdu language would be given its due position. A meeting would soon be convened to ensure the effective promotion of Urdu as the second official language in the state. There was a dearth of qualified Urdu teachers at the college level and there is a need to link Urdu and employment. It was the only way of promoting and preserving the language, he said.

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