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The very basis of reservation is religion: Maulana Rahmani

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 09:59:23 PM, Staff Reporter

Maulana Sayyad Mohammad Wali Rahmani speaking with the media on February 23 in Malegaon


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Malegaon: Strongly mooting the view that reservation in India is actually based on religion, Maulana Sayyad Mohammad Wali Rahmani dared the government to get a resolution on Muslim reservation passed in the parliament instead of playing with the issue.


“It is misleading to say that the constitution does not allow reservation on the basis of religion. The reservation was based on the religion when it was introduced for SCs, STs and other Backward classes and even now when it is proposed for Muslims”, Maulana Rahmani who is the General Secretary of All India Muslim Personal Board (AIMPLB) and founder of Rahmani Foundation, Bihar said while addressing the media in Malegaon on February 23 after winding his two-day visit to the textile town in North Maharashtra dominated by Muslims.


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


To prove his point, Maulana Rahmani recalled how to assuage the apprehensions raised by few Labour Party Leaders in Britain, Sardar Patel in the Constituent Assembly before independence mooted the idea of reservation for Muslims.


“The concept of reservation when it was introduced initially was for the Muslims to safeguard their interests in India after the partition and it was mooted by Sardar Patel in the Constituent Assembly in reply to the apprehensions raised by a Labour Party leader in Britain”, he said.


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


Arguing that the basis of the reservation in its present form is also the religion, he said, “If a person from SC or ST 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 the religion.”


Significantly, a kind of consensus is building among the minorities including Christians, Budhist, Sikhs and Muslims ever since Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission report was tabled in the Parliament.


"Reservation is the right of Muslims. When other backward and under privileged sections of the society are being offered the Reservations, why not the Muslims?", M.J. Akbar Prominent Journalist & Columnist asked recently while delivering an extension lecture at Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU).


Former MP and President of Majlis Mushawerat Syed Shahabuddin also took the stand that Muslims and other backward sections ask for reservation not as a favour but as a democratic fundamental right which cannot be denied.


“The argument raised by certain vested interest groups against giving reservation to Muslims are baseless and against the spirit of the Indian Constitution. Muslims are eligible for reservation because of their relative backwardness and not because of their religious faith”, Shahabuddin reasoned.


"In fact denying reservation to Muslims is a discrimination on religious grounds,” Shahabuddin remarked. He also pointed out that 50 per cent ceiling on total reservation put by the Supreme Court is not irrevocable and can be changed.


The Christians groups across the country including All India Christian Council, the All India Catholic Union, the United Christian Action and the Union of Dalit Christian Associations India have also welcomed the Indian Union Government tabling the report of the Justice Rangnath Misra Commission in Parliament.


These groups have urged the government to immediately implement its important recommendation that Christians and Muslims of Dalit origin be given the same benefits now given to Scheduled Castes professing Hinduism, Buddhism or Sikhism as their religion.


At the same time, Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Murli Manohar Joshi Tuesday said that reservation in the name of religion is “unconstitutional” and his party would oppose it.

“Any reservation in the name of religion is unconstitutional. It’s a conspiracy to divide the nation. The BJP will oppose this move,” Joshi said at a press conference here at Kolkata Press Club.


He said the West Bengal government had decided to adopt the Ranganath Mishra Commission’s recommendations when the centre has not taken any concrete decision on it.


“Backwardness in India has no connection with religion,” he added.





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