The right time to voice one’s grouse against the government is just before the elections and this is what the National Convention on Muslim Reservation saw on Sunday, where the participants demanded a 10 per cent reservation in education, jobs and legislature.
Organised by the Joint Committee of Muslim Organisations for Empowerment the convention saw speakers ranging from the former Chief Justice of India AM Ahmadi to Syed Shahabuddin, former MP, vent their ire against successive governments for marginalizing the community and denying them ‘legitimate benefits’.
However, it was leaders like Lok Janashakti Party President Ram Vilas Paswan, AB Bardhan, chief of CPI and Debabrata Biswas of the All India Forward Bloc who tried to grasp the attention of the representatives of the community present there.
“Do we need any proof of Muslim backwardness? The community is suffering from alienation and deep frustration. There can be no development if about 14 per cent of our population is kept out of the growth process,” Bardhan stated.
Paswan said that if not more, the Muslims are as deprived as the Dalits. “The demand for 10 per cent reservation is valid and cannot be compromised. The community as an whole should get the reservation,” he said.
The leaders even slammed the judiciary for intervening in the implementation of legislations aimed at empowering the community. “Where is it written in the Constitution that the reservations should not exceed 50 per cent? It is only the Supreme Court’s interpretation,” Paswan said, pointing to the apex court’s observation that the reservations cannot exceed the 50 per cent mark.
Deve Gowda of JD(S), who was could not attend the meet, sent his emissary to express his support to the community.
The parties demanded that the Ranganath Mishra Commission report, mentioning reservation for the Muslims, should be tabled in Parliament and made public.
The All India Milli Council’s meet on Saturday in the Capital made it clear to the political parties that they cannot take their votes for granted. While the clerics persuaded the minorities to come out of the fear psychosis they ‘are subjected to’, the convention wanted the Muslims voters to vote for those who provide development and a sense of equality.