THE REPORT of the Rajender Sachar Committee on the status of Muslims was tabled in the Lok Sabha on Thursday. To ameliorate the condition of “acute deprivation" of Muslims, the panel suggested reservation in employment and educational institutions for the backward among them.
The panel said that among the Muslim social groups, the Arzals, whose traditional occupation is similar to that of scheduled castes (SC), might be designated as Most Backward Community and provided reservation. The Ashraf and Ajlaf groups, meanwhile, should be treated on a par with Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and covered under the OBC quota.
To increase the political participation of the community, the panel said Muslims should be nominated to public bodies, including local bodies. The committee also sought a review of the delimitation of assembly and parliament seats, and suggested that those constituencies that have a high percentage of Muslims should not be reserved for SC.
Minority Affairs Minister A.R. Antulay, who tabled the report in the House, later said, “The report is the best thing to have happened to the community.” He said the government would implement the panel’s recommendations by February, which incidentally is the time when assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh are likely.
The committee held that the Muslims' poor share of government jobs -- a mere 4.9 per cent - was due to bias against them. It recommended the creation of an Equal Opportunity Commission to look into complaints of discrimination. The committee also said madrasas be linked with senior secondary boards and that madrasa degrees be recognised for jobs.