Mumbai: Maharashtra’s Muslims on Sunday formed “Muslim Aarakshan Sanyukta Kruti Samiti” (Muslim Reservation Joint Action Committee) to force the state government to implement its promise of providing reservation in jobs.
The committee has been set up by top Muslim organisations, political leaders, scholars, academicians, lawyers, professionals and other prominent personalities to take their quota struggle to its logical conclusion.
When the erstwhile Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan-led Democratic Front government was in power, “it promulgated an ordinance” to provide 16 per cent reservations to Marathas and 5 per cent quotas for Muslims in government jobs and educational institutions.
Later, the Bombay High Court struck down the reservations for the politically-influential Maratha community completely but allowed 5 per cent reservations for Muslims only in educational institutions.
Subsequently, the Supreme Court upheld the order of the Bombay High Court.
Against the backdrop of the recent protests by the Maratha community for reservations and the renewed demand by Dhangars to be included in Schedule Tribes, the demand for Muslim quotas has also come to the fore.
Congress Rajya Sabha MP Hussain Dalwai said it was high time the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre and Maharashtra government pay heed and work together to ensure reservations for Muslims.
Referring to the Rajinder Sachar Committee commissioned in 2005 by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Dalwai said, it is a report highlighting the plight and the current status of Muslims in India.
He pointed out that the Mehmood-ur-Rehman Committee had recommended 8-10 per cent reservation in education and jobs, plus a separate 10 per cent reservation for Muslim women.
This Committee was set up in 2008 by the previous Congress-Nationalist Congress Party Democratic Front government in Maharashtra, to study the economic, social and educational backwardness of Muslims in the state.
Shrimant Kokate of Maratha Seva Sangh has also backed the demand of the Muslims.
As per the Census 2011, Muslims constitute around 172 million or 14.20 per cent of the total Indian population and are the single largest religious minority.