Human Rights

Ten percent reservation for West Bengal Muslims

New Delhi: A National Convention on the social and financial condition of Muslims of West Bengal was held at Ghalib Academy, New Delhi on 2 November in which delegates and intellectuals from different states of the country expressed their views and while praising West Bengal government’s declaration giving 10 percent reservation to Muslims in government jobs and educational institutions said that this step of WB government will have nation-wide effects because Muslims and other minorities in other states will also demand and pressurise their state governments, and even central government, to grant same reservation quota to them also.

West Bengal’s minister for minorities affairs and madrasa education, Abdus Sattar who also participated in this Convention, spoke about various welfare schemes and steps taken by the leftist government of that state for removal of backwardness of Muslims. Because of the implementation of these there have been considerable improvements in their social, educational and economic conditions during the past ten years. He said that West Bengal’s government, by taking strong steps for controlling communal riots, has made it the first state in the country where communal forces have not been able to increase their influence and succeed in their nefarious designs. He said that after Independence Congress government during its 30 years rule virtually did nothing for removing the backwardness of Muslims but the leftist government, even before the submission of Sachar Committee and Ranganath Mishra Commission’s reports took various steps for their welfare and progress as a result of which their overall condition is improving. He said that it is the first state government in the country which has not only decided to give them 10 percent reservation but has also started implementing it, adding that as a precautionary measure it has also fulfilled all legal and constitutional conditions because of which no one can challenge these steps in courts.

Convener of this Convention, Dr Anwar Pasha, while speaking on this occasion praised West Bengal government’s step in giving 10% reservation to Muslims said that it will serve as a precedent for other states and made an appeal to Muslims all over the country to get encouragement from Bengal government’s step and pressurise their state governments also to do likewise.

In this Convention the following four resolutions were passed: 1. Central government has been asked to get a bill passed in the forthcoming winter session of Parliament so that Ranganath Mishra Commission’s 15% reservation to all minorities in the country could be implemented. 2. Central government has been asked to get another bill passed in the same session by which very poor and backward sections of Muslims could be included in the SC reservation category, as in the case of Hindu SC sections and that Presidential Order of 1950 under which Muslims and Christians were excluded from the benefits of reservation and other facilities should be abolished as recommended by Rangnath Mishra Commission. 3. While praising WB government’s 10 percent reservation to Muslims in that state, it was demanded that in addition to government jobs, this reservation should be extended to technical and professional educational institutions also and implemented at the earliest. 4. Central government should constitute a review committee headed by a retired Supreme Court judge to review and supervise the steps taken by central and various state governments in implementing Sachar Committee and Misra Commission’s recommendations for improving the lot of Muslims.

The Convention was chaired by Shamail Nabi, a former minister of Bihar and among many speakers were noted social worker Sahba Farooqi, journalist and political commentator Zafar Agha, educationist and former Director of Indian Council of Historical Research Shahbih and so on. Large number of teachers and professors from Jamia Millia Islamia, JNU, Jamia Hamdard, Delhi University and other important dignitaries and citizens attended this Convention.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 November 2010 on page no. 22

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