Union Fertiliser Minister Ram Vilas Paswan formally launched the Saudi chapter of the Dalit Minorities International Forum in Riyadh on Wednesday as part of his plan to start similar branches in other parts of the world, including other West Asian countries. An international conference of the forum will he held in the US in 2008.
He advocated reservations for Muslims and other minorities towards their upliftment and empowerment. "There is no mention of religion and caste in the constitution for extending reservation. It is meant for socially and economically backward classes and Muslims are socially and economically backward.
This has been established by the Sachar report. Hence, the whole community must be given reservation for their upliftment and empowerment," he told an audience of NRIs in Riyadh. He added that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi were also determined on the early implementation of the report.
The minister also assured the audience of increased Indian involvement to give a boost to Indo-Saudi relationship. He said that Indian companies are keen to invest in Saudi Arabia.