Press Statements

Imams Convention demands reservation for Indian Muslims

Demands immediate implementation of 10 percent reservation for Muslims

New Delhi: The National Imam Convention for Muslim Reservation in its New Delhi Declaration has strongly demanded the immediate implementation of 10 percent reservation to all Muslims in Central Government services and educational institutions. The convention also demanded that a quota for Muslims be declared in all states in proportion to the percentage of Muslim population there. 

The convention, held here at Ambedkar Bhawan on 30 November, represented all states of India. It declared that the Ulama and Masjid Imams throughout the country will lead the Muslim community in its democratic struggles till the demand for reservation is fulfilled. 

The findings of Sachar Committee and recommendations of Ranganath Misra Commission have together made it the responsibility of the Central Government to declare reservation for all Muslims at the national level, the New Delhi Declaration pointed out. 

The New Delhi Declaration noted that in Kerala and Karnataka, all Muslims without any distinction enjoy reservation both in recruitment to state government services and also in admissions at all levels of education. There are no impediments in providing reservation to the Muslim community on the basis of its social and educational backwardness. It is very unfortunate that certain vested interests oppose the very idea of reservation to Muslims raising flimsy arguments. Even secular and backward class political parties adopt a lukewarm attitude to this vital issue of social justice, the Declaration said. 

Hafiz Manzoor Ali Khan, Rajasthan unit Vice President, read out the New Delhi Declaration which was unanimously approved by the assemblage through voice vote. Thereafter, Hafiz Manzoor handed over a copy of the New Delhi Declaration to Congress Member of Parliament Oscar Fernandez to get it implemented by his UPA Government. Later, he also handed over a copy of the Declaration to the Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav seeking his party's support for ten percent reservation to Muslims as recommended by the Ranganath Misra Commission report.

The convention passed four resolutions, on Babri Masjid, bomb blasts in India since 1992, 2011 Census and protection of Waqf properties.

Maulana Rahmani
Pix: Maulana Rahmani


Maulana Syed Muhammed Wali Rahmani, Secretary of the All India Muslim Personal Board, in his inaugural speech emphatically asserted that religion is the only basis for providing reservations at present. He dared the government to get a resolution on Muslim reservation passed in the Parliament instead of playing with the issue. “It is totally misleading to say that the Constitution does not allow reservation on the basis of religion. The reservation was based on religion when it was introduced for SCs/STs and other Backward classes."

“The matter is clear and free from any ambiguity. If the Government is really serious about granting reservation to Muslims as it claims, it should move a resolution and get it passed in the Parliament”, he stressed.

To buttress his point, Maulana Rahmani recalled how to assuage the apprehensions raised by a few Labour Party Leaders in Britain, Sardar Patel in the Constituent Assembly shortly after independence assured that Muslims will get more than their share in a free India.

However, he added: “After the Muslim leaders during those times relying on the promises made by Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel declined to accept reservation for Muslims, it was introduced for SCs/STs and other Backward classes.”

Arguing that the basis of reservation in its present form is religious, he said, “If a person from SCs or STs converts from Hinduism to Islam, he will not be eligible for reservation unless he reconverts to his or her previous religion. This shows that reservation even today is based on religion.”

Maulana Rahmani exhorted Imams to guide the Ummah not only in religious affairs but also in worldly matters. For this, they should be well aware of the developments in the ever-changing world so that they could make Muslims aware through "Jum'ah khutba" (Friday sermons). 

"Namaz Mein Nigah Sajdeh Ki Jagah Hona Chhahiye aur Namaz Ke Ba'd Nigah Duniya Par Hona Chhahiye", the Maulana remarked while pointedly addressing the Imams from all over India. The Imams should be "Bakhabar, Buland martabat Aur Manzil Par Nazar Hona Chhahiye", he quipped.

Maulana Usman Baig
Pix: Maulana Usman Baig

Earlier, Maulana Usman Baig, president the All India Imams Council, while delivering his presidential speech threw light in detail over the role Imams should play in society. The Imams should not limit themselves in leading five time prayers in Masjids alone but should also broaden their vision to enlighten the Muslim Ummah to lead a better life in the world. Their focus must not be the Hereafter only; they should also focus on the present world in order to lead a life of dignity. The All India Imams Council is a platform wherein Imams will be made to recognize their role in society and their responsibilities which they have towards the Muslim Ummah as a whole. They will have to change their mindsets and realize their importance to transform the life of Muslims in particular and common man in general.

Mufti Muhammed Mukarram Ahmed, Shahi Imam of Delhi's Fatehpuri Masjid, who was the chief guest on the occasion, inaugurated the website of the All India Imams Council. 

Mulayam Singh Speaking
Pix: Mulayam Singh Speaking at the convention

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav coming towards the end of the function recalled his apology to Muslims on the Babri Masjid issue and said he has never worked against the interests of Muslims. He assured to work shoulder to shoulder with Muslims for their cause in future also. 

EM Abdurahman, Chairman of the Popular Front of India, speaking on the occasion said reservation is a social problem. Sachar Committee has rightly diagnosed the problem of the Muslim community while Ranganath Misra Commission has prescribed the remedy. Reservation is not a favour or charity but a right which can be achieved through continuous struggle and it is the responsibility of Ulama and Imams to mobilize the Muslim Ummah to strive hard to achieve this goal. No right can be achieved without putting in effort and waging struggle for it, he added. 

E. Abubacker, president of the Social Democratic Party of India, said Muslims are on the backfoot in every field and as such it is the responsibility of Imams and Ulama to come forward to uplift the Muslim Ummah from the quagmire of illiteracy, poverty and all-round backwardness. “Hum Sablogon ko ab Tamashaee Bankar Nahin Baithna Hai Balke Kam Karne Ke Liye Aage Aana Hai Aur Qaum Ko Uska Haq Dilana Hai”, Abubacker said.   

Other guest speakers on the occasion were Oscar Fernandez, MP (Congress Party) and Dr. Zafarul-Islam Khan, Editor of the Milli Gazette who stressed that Muslims should not only demand reservation and rely on government promises and schemes, rather they should take their own initiatives to improve their lot.

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