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Chavan too busy to give time to Dr Mehmoodur Rehman Committee submit report
Sunday October 13, 2013 6:40 PM, Staff Reporter

Demands are being raised from all quarters. The activists of Muslim Reservation Federation (MRF) supported by volunteers from different places of the state even sat for a day-long dharna at Mumbai's Azad Maidan Tuesday. However, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan seems to be too busy to spare time for Dr. Mehmood-ur-Rehman Committee to formally accept its report so that it can be made public.

"Mrs. Thekkekara, principal secretary, Minority Development Department Maharashtra, is trying hard since last over four months to get an appointment from Chief Minister Chavan so that Dr. Mehmood-ur-Rehman Committee can submit its report. But, her requests were dumped every time for some another day", a highly placed source said while talking to

"In fact she was very much hopeful that the committee will be called by the chief minister yesterday. Hence, Dr Mehmood-ur-Rehman along with some other members was in the city on Saturday. However, after failing to get a positive response from the CMO despite waiting for the entire day a dismayed Dr Rehman left for other work", the source added.

The seven-member committee, headed by retired IAS officer Dr Mehmood-ur-Rehman, and comprising of other retired IAS, IPS officers and professors from few reputed institutes such as Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) as members, was appointed in 2008 by then chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh to examine the socio-economic and educational status of the Muslim community in Maharashtra, and the issues the community is facing in the state. The committee was also asked to submit its recommendations as remedial measures.

It is also learnt that the committee was almost defunct for 3-4 years of its appointment. It was complained that the needed supports and logistics were not provided to the committee. It however began its work about a year-and-half ago, and finally completed five years after it was appointment a 312+ pages report sometimes in June, 2013.

Interestingly, the chief minister himself had promised while meeting a delegation of Muslim Reservation Federation (MRF) on May 27 that the report will be released in a month's time and its recommendations will be looked into. Later, Maharashtra minority minister Naseem Khan also claimed the same.

Speculations are rife that the state government is reluctant to make public the report as it is afraid of the opposition parties like Shiv-Sena and BJP who are bound to create a hue and cry on the "love and affections" of the state government towards the Muslims.

But, there are others who believe that the so called fear of opposition parties is not true. They say that the Congress government, true to its nature, is not serious and is deliberately running away from making public the true picture of the Muslims in the state that the report is believed to have portrayed.

"Contrary to what the government claims and the appeasement theory that the Sena and BJP are fond of repeating, the Muslims in Maharashtra are no better than their counterparts in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. If the leaked information is to be believed, the Committee has exposed this fact. If it is made public, it will be quite embarrassing for the government especially in the election year", said chairman of Noble Education and Welfare Society (NEWS) Aleem Faizee.

Muslims comprise about 20% of the total Maharashtra population. However, their representation in the Maharashtra Public Service Commission, civil and police services is limited to less than 2%. They are also lagging in other sectors, and at places like Bhiwandi and Malegaon, where a large number of Muslims are associated with textile industry, they are struggling for their survival.

The appointment of Dr. Mehmood-ur-Rehman Committee had revived hope that the state government will come out with a concrete plan for the empowerment of the beleaguered community. However, with the delay in its release, it is now feared that the government will ignore the findings of the report terming the meticulously collected records and data included in it as old and out-of-date.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister Office is completely silent on the issue. Not only the calls made by on mobile phones were unanswered but the SMSes sent were also ignored without a reply.


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