National

Muslim reservation movement keeps up momentum

Lucknow: What was to have been once a silent movement has now become vibrant and articulate, to press for ‘reservation’ for Muslims in job in the country. The Muslim Reservation Movement (MRM) which had started in 2004, from Lucknow, where Muslims have their largest presence, has as yet, organised its full steering committee meetings for more than 50 times along with more than a dozen public functions and rallies, in almost all prime centres and zones in UP. MRM’s latest steering committee meeting was held in the state capital in the first week of March, at Amir-ud-Daula Islamia Degree College, Lucknow.

MRM is represented in practically every district in UP and also by every section and sub-section of Muslim society. Its president who is a former Member of Parliament Shafiq-ur-Rehman Barq took the opportunity to put forward MRM’s prime demand, that is grant the ‘Dalit status’ to Muslims who are engaged in the same category of jobs. “This is the gravest injustice which has been heaped and perpetuated on Muslims, ever since independence, as Dalit Hindus, and later Dalit Buddhists and even Dalit Sikhs have been accorded Dalit status and thus have got reservation in jobs, whereas, Muslim and Christians, have been denied such reservation. This is just to fortify the Hindu society by luring them with jobs in order to make them remain within the Brahminical fold,” he said.

Saleem Peerzada, the President of Parcham Party of India and who had come from Aligarh sought an amendment in the Presidential Order of 1950, under Article 341 of Indian Constitution, to thereby declare, that Dalit Muslims be also categorised for reservation and other facilities as accorded to Dalit Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs, for their social emancipation or else the government of India, will always be held responsible for their abysmal living conditions. “I see the deadlock for this amendment as an ongoing obduracy and obstinacy, as a well crafted intention of the government, in order to enforce the vision of RSS Guru Golwarkar who had propounded that only religions which have been born inside the Indian soil were to be allowed to exist. For RSS Islam and Christianity are external religions. If not this, what is the reason for the accommodation of Buddhists and Sikhs? This is blatant communal manoeuvring and discrimination of the highest order, in the name of democracy, as a whole section of society which is engaged in the same kind of job, like a Hindu/Buddhist/Sikh Dalits is denied any facility for only the cardinal mistake of being a Muslim or Christian. In fact this is also done to make an ‘invite-back prognosis’ as Muslims Dalits and Christian Dalits are sought (by duress) back into the Hindu Brahminical social order, to avail the facility of reservation! This is a treachery of democracy” said Peerzada. He also pointed towards the Justice Ranganath Mishra Report which ought to be presented in Parliament and that its recommendations be immediately implemented. Mishra has recommended that Dalit Muslims deserve to be enlisted alongside Hindu/Buddhist and Sikh Dalits and be declared Scheduled Castes.

MRM’s second most vocal demand is for an allocation of a separate quota for Muslim Other Backward Castes (OBCs), which is 9% within the 27% quota for OBCs, so that Muslim OBCs are able to get the real benefit of reservation or else only a particular group of Yadavs, Kurmis and Lodhis (all Hindu OBCs) etc are able to enjoy all the benefits of reservation. “They have almost monopolised their franchise over the 27% reservation given to them by way of the implementation of Mandal Commission. The demarcated Muslim OBCs within the overall OBCs is just nine percent and therefore we demand for equal representation or else their share would be routinely choked. It’s the question of the will of the government, which has as yet been lying low, to unprove that some are more equal than others,” said Malik Azeem Khan, an MRM representative from Agra.  

Zafaryab Jilani, took the occasion to also elucidate that overall Muslims also ought to be given reservation, as the whole community development has been relegated to the backburner, in terms of all human development indices, and particularly, in context to the educational, economic and social standards. “We demand Muslims be given reservation, according to their population, in all government jobs, after deleting the Muslim creamy layer, in accordance with the recommendations of Justice Ranganath Mishra Report,” he said. He is the convenor of MRM.

MRM also unanimously demanded that Justice Rajender Sachar and Justice Ranganath Mishra reports be implemented in earnest and in their rightful spirit, and that, Muslims also be given scholarships and ‘No Fee Admission’ on the pattern being availed by Scheduled Castes. It was also decided that a delegation of MRM would soon meet United Progressive Alliance (UPA) II Chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Shafiq-ur-Rehman Barq would lead the delegation and a delegation, would also meet the UP CM Mayawati, to keep her abreast of the demands of MRM. This job has been entrusted to Malik Azeem Khan. It was also decided that a dharna be organised to put forth the MRM demands, at Jantar Mantar in Delhi.

MRM was represented by its delegates from Kashiram Nagar, Etah, Allahabad, Siddharthnagar, Gorakhpur, Agra, Farrukhabad, Balrampur, Jaunpur, Azamgarh, Shahjehanpur, Benarus, Sitapur, Firozabad, Sant Kabirnagar, Barabanki, Faizabad, Aligarh, Mau, Farkhabad, Hathras and Sultanpur. Lunch was duly served to the delegates.

It was also declared that MRM is set to organise a big public divisional rally at Ghantaghar Park, the main center in Bahraich, an eastern UP town, on April 9.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 April 2011 on page no. 7

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