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Muslims want reservation, not computers: Owaisi says in Pune
How Amit Shah secured a clean chit in the Sohrabuddin case so quickly while innocent Muslim youths languish for years in jail, he asks Modi
Thursday February 5, 2015 0:04 AM, IANS

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi Wednesday made an impassioned plea to the government to give reservation to the Muslim community to enable it join the national mainstream.

Owaisi in Pune

Addressing a massive rally in Pune, the Lok Sabha member from Hyderabad indirectly referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's statements offering Quran and laptops to Muslims during his election rallies in Pune before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

"Mr. Prime Minister, the Holy Quran we keep in our hearts, you can keep the computers. Just give us reservation and we shall make ourselves capable in all respects," Owaisi urged, amidst thunderous applause.

He said that in the past 15 years of the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party rule in Maharashtra, the issue of reservation was not resolved and called upon the present BJP Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to give quotas to Muslims based on social representation.

"Why can't there be Muslim doctors, IAS, IPS officers? The community's population in Maharashtra is 11 percent or more than 12 million, but 70 percent live below the poverty line. Not a single Muslim MP was elected from here in the past few elections," he said, as the crowds cheered him.

Owaisi said he was proud to be a Muslim, to wear a cap, sport a beard, and wear a 'sherwani' (a typical Muslim jacket) as the crowd chanted "Sher aaya, bhai Sher aaya" (Tiger has come...).

"We wear this ordinary 'sherwani', locally stitched, as we are a poor community, unlike you Mr. Prime Minister.

"We have no objections and wish you have many more such specially stitched jackets from London, but Muslim youth are in a pathetic condition, they need reservation," Owaisi said, in a reference to Modi's wardrobe which became a topic of discussion during US President Barack Obama's recent visit to India.

He said the Muslim community must be taken together in the BJP's slogan of "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas", and Modi should ensure equal development of the minority community.

Owaisi vowed to visit every corner of Maharashtra in favour of reservation.

Dismissing contentions that Muslims did not contribute to the Indian freedom struggle, he said many people from the community sacrificed their lives for the country's independence.

He said independent India's first home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was in favour of granting reservation to Muslims not on religious grounds, but on social grounds.

Owaisi posed a direct question to Modi, asking: "Mr. Prime Minister, how did your friend Amit Shah secure a clean chit in the Sohrabuddin case so quickly? Why innocent Muslim youths languish for years in jail?

"Try them in fast track courts. If there is no evidence against them, they must be released. If they are guilty, they must be punished."

Most roads leading to Kauserbaug Hall, which is actually an open venue for weddings and other functions, were jammed.

Huge crowds gathered on the roads, on building terraces, vehicles and tree tops, waiting to catch a glimpse of the firebrand leader at the 'Muslim Arakshan Parishad' organised by the Maharashtra and Mulnivasi Muslim Manch.

Earlier Wednesday, police had slapped Owaisi with stringent conditions for speaking at the rally with warnings of action if he made any inflammatory statements.

The rally, which was mired in uncertainties for the past couple of days following objections from the local Shiv Sena and the Pune Cantonment Board, saw police making over 300 preventive arrests of Shiv Sainiks who were planning to demonstrate at the venue.

Virtually gagging Owaisi, police had directed Owaisi to refrain from provocative utterances which could create religious, linguistic or communal tension and the media was barred from covering the event live from the venue.

Police estimated the crowd at around 2,000, even as the organisers claimed there were 25,000 people. Independent witnesses and media persons pegged the crowd at 13,000-15,000.

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