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National consensus would be built on reservation, PM to Muslim leaders


Wednesday, December 23, 2009 09:51:46 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday told a group of Muslim MPs that a broad national consensus would be built on the issue of reservations before the government took any step but assured that it remained committed to the issues and concerns of the community.


"There will be a necessity to work towards an agreement on the issue of reservations. If it happens it will be modelled on the Karnataka pattern," official sources said after the meeting.


According to E.T. Mohammed Basheer, a Muslim League MP, most Muslims are included in the reservations for Other Backward Classes (OBC) in Karnataka through different categories.


The meeting comes in the backdrop of the Ranganath Misra Commission report that was tabled in parliament last week recommending reservations for Dalit Muslims and Christians in the Scheduled Castes category.


The report said reservations be given on the basis of socio-economic backwardness and not religion or caste. The Misra report has also said that SC status should be delinked from religion and the SC net be made "religion-neutral".


Interacting with the group led by K. Rahman Khan, the deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha, the prime minister assured the group that he would take up the issue of a separate standing committee in parliament for minority affairs with the speaker and the chairman of the Rajya Sabha in consultation with the parliamentary affairs minister.


He also assured the delegation that the Waqf Bill will be tabled in parliament in the budget session that begins in February.


On the issue of increase in credit flows to the minorities, particularly Muslims, and the proposal for introducing Islamic Banking in India, Manmohan Singh indicated that he would discuss this with the finance minister.


Other members of the all-party delegation included Mohsina Kidwai, Ijaz Ali, Ahmad Saeed Malihabadi, Mohammed Shafi, Tariq Anwar, Sabir Ali, Mohammed Adeeb, E. Ahamed, Asaduddin Owaisi and Shafiqur Rahman Baig.






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