Twelve percent reservations for the Muslims–Where art thou?

Hyderabad: Prior to the formation of the Telangana state, K Chandrasekhar Rao, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi chief, rode to power on the massive wave of the Telangana sentiment. He also sailed through the elections as Chief Minister of the newest State in the country given his many promises, including the yet-to-be-kept 12 percent reservations for the Muslim community.

This unkept promise has massive and widespread ramifications. To understand this problem, one has to take the recent series of vacancy announcements made over the past few months, beginning last March, into consideration.

Over 90,000 jobs, from Group I to Group IV were announced. While there was a wave of appreciation and enthusiasm, it appears that the Muslim community will lose out on account of this unkept promise. The quantification of this loss stands at Approximately 10,800.

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Activists S Q Masood, who keeps a close watch on government schemes and vacancies, says that not following through with the 12 pc reservation for Muslims promise reflects a non-serious attitude of the Telangana government vis-a-vis the Muslim community in general, and Muslim electorate in particular.

“There are good things that the Bharat Rashtra Samithi has done for the people of the state. But it is painful that many initiatives which were meant for the Muslim community have not taken off or are lacking in sincerity. The prime example of this is the 12% reservation promise which the then Telangana Rashtra Samithi had promised. The 12% reservations could have brought about a sea change in the socio-economic conditions of the Muslim community. CM K Chandrasekhar Rao has lost the opportunity of being an inalienable part of this positive change,” Masood says.

The activist shares that it was a few months ago, he filed a Right to Information request, seeking information on the status of reservations. “I asked for copies of the resolution and documentation associated with the 12% reservation promise. I was denied this information under a section of the RTI Act, which gives exemption based on privilege of the legislative assembly or parliament. This includes cabinet papers that are exempt from being shared,” Masood says.

The Muslims of Telangana supported Rao, despite the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen’s initial dilly-dalliance, to fully support a separate Telangana State. But the solidarity came in the shape of the Telangana Garajana public meeting at the Nizam College grounds. Under the banner of Jamaat-e-Islami, and In a massive show of support to the Telangana cause, Muslims in droves gathered from all over the undivided state of Andhra Pradesh and assembled at the Nizam College grounds.

Once the TRS came to power, it did try to implement its promise.  But some analysts believe that the Chief Minister knew that it would be impossible given the circumstances in the State as well as in the country. Still he did it to keep the Muslim voters on his side.  Under pressure from the circumstance or his failed manivouring the reservation for the Muslims remained at 4 pc that too in a state of limbo.  The case against 4 pc reservation for the Muslims has been dragged through legal hurdles and it now rests with the Supreme Court.  No one knows whether the 4 pc reservation too could be retained by the government or fly with the wind.

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