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Posted Online on Sunday, 5 March 2006 11:05 IST

Muslim Islamic NewsGujarat Muslims: Appeal to Sachar Committee 

The Milli Gazette Online

5 March 2006

Following is the text of the representation made by prominent Gujaratis on February 7, 2006 to the Justice Rajendra Sachar, Chairperson, Prime Minister's High Level Committee to probe the Social, Economic and Educational Status of Muslims Community of India, during the Committee's visit to Ahmedabad:

Two consultations were held to discuss the socio-economic problems of Muslims in Gujarat (6-7 August 2005 and 29th January 2006) to be presented before the Prime Minister's High Level Committee. The issues listed below have emerged from these two consultations, which are presented for your perusal. Approximately Sixty people attended the consultations.

1. Education and educational institutes:

a. Census of 2001 shows that literacy level among Muslims has improved over last ten years, but drop out of Muslims is still very high and hence the number of students going to higher education and professional courses is abysmally low. The low number of girls in higher education is of particular concern. 

b. But the genocide of 2002 in Gujarat has adversely affected the education of Muslim girls and boys. Thousands of Muslim families have not been able to return to their original homes. Many do not go to schools because schools are far away or because of fear of new areas and school. This in long term will have adverse impact not only on individuals, but on the community and the country.

c. More and more self - financed schools are coming up, where the Muslim students, because of high fees can not go and so are forced to go to Government schools where the quality of education is poor, this results in poor performance at higher level and high drop out. 

d. Muslim Trusts are finding it increasingly difficult to get permission to open new education institutes. They are not given Grant in Aid by the Government. Hence to run institutes with community's own resources are very difficult. The situation is of concern because of the discrimination that Muslims face in every walk of life. 

e. In universities there are not enough Muslim teachers. We are convinced there are educated Muslims who are worthy to be University teachers 

Recommendations: 
1.
Muslim Trusts should be granted permission to open new educational institutes and Government must give them grants. 
2. Education for Muslim girls should be free up to graduation. Socio-economically backward Muslims should be given scholarships or loans without interest.
3. Government must open schools, polytechnic colleges, libraries etc. in areas where large number of Muslims reside. Government should set up monitoring and evaluation mechanism to ensure quality education. 
4. Special coaching classes, including English and Computer should be opened in Muslim dominated areas to reinforce modern quality education.

2. Economy & Employment: 

Majority of Muslims are economically backward is a well accepted fact. They depend on petty business. There are various hurdles in the way of their economic progress. We list few which if removed would go a long way in the economic progress of not only Muslims but of the country. 

a. It is very difficult for Muslims to get Loans from the Banks to start or expand business or for housing. Large areas of Muslims are branded as "negative zones" by Banks and credit cards companies. Any Muslim from these areas is denied Loans without any investigation into his/her paying capacity. There are large areas. i.e. Juhapura where two hundred thousand Muslims live, yet there is not a single bank. There are hundred of Petrol Pumps but dealership is not given to Muslims. The last Muslim, according to our information to get dealership was in
1972.

b. Internally Displaced People live at far distance from their work places which cut into their meager income. Few options are available to them and their skills are downgraded. The economic and social ostracism of Muslims further impact their mental and physical well-being resulting in further deterioration of their economic status and self esteem. 

c. Gujarat Public Service Commission board is responsible for the final choice of candidates for various influential administrative posts. Enough number of Muslims appears for written test and passes out but fails during the personal interview. 

d. Government must take steps to ensure that enough number of Muslims are represented in Police. In Gujarat even senior IPS officers are posted in places that is less significant. 

e. Muslims communities have lot of artisans who despite being skilled were marginalized. The process of globalization has further marginalized them. Some of the skills that Muslim possess and still do not get enough returns are-brocade work, Zardoshi, crochet, terracotta, minakari, tie and dye, kite making and broom making.

Recommendation: 
1.
Banks should be opened in or near Muslim dominated localities to ensure that the banking services are accessible to Muslims.

2. There must be members from minority communities in G.P.S.C selection committee.

3. Efforts must be made to improve skill of the artisans, financial support should be provided and should be helped in marketing their products.

3. Ghettoisation & Infrastructures: 
Forced displacement and emergence of large ghettoes of Muslims is most distressing and ugly reality of developing Gujarat because of vicious communal milieu. These areas are completely ignored and no attempts are made to provide infrastructure roads, transportation or health facilities. Hence the people living in these areas are finding immense difficulties in earning their livelihood. Juhapura with a population of 2,00,000 and Bombay hotel area with population app. 50,000 have no health centre. Similar is the situation in many areas outside Ahmedabad. 

Recommendation: 

1. Government must recognize these localities and provide all necessary infrastructure, sanitation, heath facilities, livelihood opportunities, etc. for dignified living. 

2. Muslim free Zone' in Ahmedabad and Gujarat: a professional, high level scholarly study need to be carried out to ascertain the design behind this phenomenon and to work out the counter mechanism to arrest this process. An official affirmative action be initiated where encouragement and rewards are bestowed to the developers, builders who consciously promote co-habitation of the diverse communities

Other Issues: 

a. Gujarat government has developed hundreds of housing colonies through Gujarat Housing Board but not a single colony is built in or near Muslim dominated areas. The badly segregated Gujarat needs that such colonies are developed in or near Muslims dominated areas. 

b. After closer of mills acres of land in Ahmedabad is available. Part of that must be made available for housing for socio-economically backward Muslims and for commercial purposes to Muslims. 

c. Wakf board has lot of resources and these resources are the ownership of Muslims. The inactive board needs to be reactivated and its enormous financial resources must be used for the development of Muslim communities. 

d. There are about 28th Muslims groups included in the list of OBCs but they have not been getting jobs either in Government for private institutes. For last three years the students belonging to OBC categories have faced immense difficulties in getting admission in academic institutes. There are many instances of cancellation of admission of OBC Muslim students after
2 or 3 years of studies and thus their career were ruined. Some of the groups i.e. Agarias of Kutch should also be included in the OBC category. 

e. A monitoring committee / Legal authority should be created to deal with complaints of discrimination against Muslims. 

Dr. Hanif Lakdawala Dr. Shakeel Ahmed
Ms. Sheba George Lakdawala 
Ms. Sofia Khan 
Mr. Indukumar Jani 
Fr. Victor Moses
Mr. Gagan Sethi 
Mr. R. K. Saiyed 
Dr. Bachubhai Desai 
Mr. Ibrahim Shaikh
Mr. Afzal Memon 
Mr. V. A. Isani
Justice S. M. Pirzada 
Prof. Abid Shamsi 
Mr. Ajajkhan Pathan 
Prof. Mukhtar Chunawla 
Dr. B. B. Siddiqui 
Mr. Sohel Tirmizi 
Mr. Achyut Yagnik 
Mr. Girish Patel
Mr. Mohd. Safi Madni 
Mr. Yusuf B. Shaikh 
Mr. Jamal Patiwala 
Ms. Gazala Paul 
Dr. N. D. Ghasura 
Mr. Mohd. Ibrahim Siddiqui 
Mr. Mohammed G. Desai
Mr. Ahmed Shaikh 
Dr. Mehrunnisha Desai 
Mr. S.N.A. Kazi 
Mr. Vajir Khan Pathan 
Mr. Yusuf Saiyed 
Prof. M. G. Bombaywala 
Dr. Habib Kakiwala 
Mr. Mehbub G. Malek 
Mr. Faruk Bawani
Dr. D. A. Kherada 
Haji Hasam Deda 
Mr. Vajid Hussain Saiyed 
Mr. Juned Shaikh
Prof. Nisar Ansari 
Prof . Darshini Mahadevia 
Mr. M. D. Lohani 

C/o. Dr. Hanif Lakdawala 
Sanchetana Community Health and Research Center
O-45, 46, 4th Floor, New York Trade Center ,
Nr. Thaltej Cross Road , Ahmedabad 380054
Gujarat , INDIA . 
Phone : +91-79-26857848,+91-79-30182685,+91-79-30182688
Fax : +91-79-26843395 
E-mail : ifieahdad1@sancharnet.in 
sanchetana@sanchetana.org

 

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