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No injustice in reservation on religious ground

Lucknow: A seminar against religious restriction in Art. 341 of the Constitution under which reservation to Muslims and Christians has been denied on religious grounds was held in Lucknow on 10 August. Speaking in this seminar, Vice Chairman of All India Muslim Majlis Mushawarat and former IAS officer Anees Ansari said in his presidential address that benefit of reservation is given to Hindu dalits, Sikhs, Baudhs and Jains but denied to Muslim and Christian dalits under section 3 of Art. 341 of the Constitution because of religious restriction imposed under this section of Art 341. He said that this injustice and cruelty to Muslims and Christians was during the period of India’s first prime minister Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru. He said that under Nehru a Presidential Order was issued on 10 August 1950 providing that reservation will be given only to Hindu dalits. He further said that another Presidential Ordinance was issued soon under which it was provided that if Muslims convert to Hinduism, reservation will be given to them also. He said that whereas the objective of this ‘black’ and unjust condition was, on the one hand, to make Muslims (and Christians) poor and backward, on the other hand to put the pressure and inducement to them to convert to Hinduism. He said that All India Muslim Majlis Mushawarat will agitate, struggle and raise its voice against this discrimination and injustice at all levels, from street to Parliament. He said assembly election is to take place in UP next year (2017) and Muslims should vote for only those candidates irrespective of political parties they belong to, who will promise their support in removing religious restriction from Art 341. He further said that under a conspiracy, seats of areas and constituencies where Muslims are in a majority have been reserved so that Muslims should not contest elections from these reserved constituencies. He said that if these restrictions, both religious and of reserved seats, are removed, Muslims in fairly large number will be represented in the Parliament and consequently many of their problems and difficulties will automatically be removed.

State president of AIMMM, Muhammad Sulaiman while speaking on this occasion said that in the Constitution people of all religions have been guaranteed the freedom of their rights and faith but immediately after enforcement of the Constitution, in order to deprive Muslims (and Christians) of their rights, the religious restriction was inserted ‘in the darkness of night’ in Art 341, adding that a party which claims to be secular had itself laid the foundation of making India a Hindu Rashtra. He said that on the one hand the Constitution emphasises the point that every body in India will be given his rights but on the other hand efforts are being made to convert Muslims to Hindudism through greed and inducement. He said that Mushawarat will go to people against this injustice so as to create an awakening among them against 65 years of injustice and exploitation.

Muslim Majlis Mushawarat’s secretary Maulana Zaheer Ahmad Siddiqi said that when Sikhs fought against this injustice and religious discrimination, they were given their rights (reservation) and Buddhists too were exempted from this religious restriction but Muslims and Christians were not exempted from this religious restriction which is out and out an injustice and discrimination on religious ground.

Similar protest meetings against the discriminatory Art 341 were held at other places also like Gorakhpur, Aligarh etc on the anniversary of Presidential Order or Ordinance on 10 August. In Gorakhpur Peace Party observed 10 August as a Black Day and party’s activists sent a representation to the President of India through the District Magistrate demanding that religious restriction from Art 341 should be removed and like Sikhs and Buddhists etc facilities of reservation should be provided to Muslims and Christians also. President of Peace Party Dr. Muhammad Aiyyub, MLA from UP’s Khalilabad assembly constituency while describing Congress Party as responsible for denying reservation to dalit Muslims accused Jawaharlal Nehru of being the biggest enemy of Muslims because it was he and his cabinet that had approved and passed this ‘black law’.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 September 2016 on page no. 15

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