Maulana Azad Vichar Manch seeks education, job quotas for Muslims

Addressing mediapersons, Dalwai said that though Muslims comprise around 11.5 per cent of Maharashtra’s population, their proportion in education and jobs is minimal.

Mumbai: With barely 2-3 per cent of Muslims graduating and hardly 2-2.5 per cent getting jobs in the government or private sector, the plight of the community in Maharashtra is worse than that of the OBCs or the Marathas, making a strong case to provide quotas in jobs and education for impoverished Muslims. In order to highlight the plight of the community, the Maulana Vichar Manch president Hussain Dalwai, ex-MP, has convened a national-level Muslim Rights Conference here on Saturday.

Addressing mediapersons, Dalwai said that though Muslims comprise around 11.5 per cent of Maharashtra’s population, their proportion in education and jobs is minimal.

He added that the number of Muslims living Below the Poverty Line (BPL) was the highest among all other communities and the Muslim community remains backward.

He said that nearly 75 per cent of children in the age group of 6-14 drop out of school within the first few years and barely 2-3 per cent are able to graduate or pursue higher education. Consequently, they hold hardly 2-2.5 per cent of the jobs in the government and private sector.

Dwelling on the historic aspects at the national level, Dalwai said the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had set up the Dr. Gopal Singh Commission with the late Dr. Rafiq Zakari as a member, and he first proved the decline of the Muslim society with correlational statistics and authentic data.

“After that, a 15-point program was announced for the Muslim community, but was never implemented, so there was no improvement in their social, academic and economic levels,” Dalwai said.

Later, former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh set up the Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee, and he made a comparative study of Muslim and non-Muslim societies and put the exact condition of Muslim society in front of the country.

It was followed by the Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission which clearly stated the need for reservation for Muslims.

In Maharashtra, the then Congress government set up a commission in May 2008 headed by Dr. Mehmood-ur Rahman, which recommended at least 8 per cent quota for Muslims.

Finally, in July 2014, the then Congress government granted 5 per cent reservation to Muslims (along with the Maratha quotas), giving quotas to 50 categories of Muslims but there were many errors in the government circular.

“However, while the Maratha community circular was cleared by the Social Justice Department, the Muslim reservation proposal was passed by the Minority Welfare Department though the authority was vested with the Social Justice Department,” claimed Dalwai.

He rued that Muslims, especially those who are economically backward, need quotas and concessions in education but no government has taken any action on this count in the last ten years.

“While the government and leaders of various political parties have promised to do their best for Maratha quotas, no party or leader is willing to take a stand on reservation for Muslims, who have been deprived of education and development for generations, leading to great unrest,” cautioned Dalwai.

He urged all leaders, political and social, to put aside their differences and speak up for providing Muslims with education, jobs, livelihood, healthcare, poverty-alleviation and Constitutional rights, on the lines of other communities.

“Beside quotas, the Muslim should get equal representation in power, wealth and prestige. Funds on the lines of other communities and tribes should be provided in Union and state budgets based on their population apart from 100 per cent scholarships and hostel accommodation at the district levels, etc,” urged Dalwai.

In order to ascertain the exact status, he said that there should be a census of the Muslim community on the lines of the recent caste survey in Bihar, deploying the Waqf resources for the welfare of the community, and stringent laws to abolish mob-lynching.

The seminar on Saturday shall be attended by top Muslim leaders like Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Dr Salman Khurshid, Mohammed Adib, Dr. Amin Patel, Wajahat Mirza, Abdul Rahman, Yusuf Abrahani, Maulana Naseem Siddiqui, NCP President Sharad Pawar, Congress state chief Nana Patole, Mumbai Congress leader Professor. Varsha Gaikwad, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aditya Thackeray, and MP Arvind Sawant, and Mumbai Congress President Varsha Gaikwad.

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