Backed by prominent MPs opposed to the women's reservation Bill, hundreds of backward Muslims and Christians on Tuesday demanded quota in jobs and education in the Capital on Tuesday.
The All India Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz (Assembly of Backward Muslims) headed by Janta Dal (U) chief whip Ali Anwar Ansari, which organised the rally, announced a national agitation to pressure the Congress-led UPA to implement the Ranganath Misra Commission recommendations.
The clamour for reservation has grown louder after the Congress pulled off a legislation to reserve a third of seats in central and state legislatures in the upper house for women.
The massive rally attended by communities, such as the Mew tribe, came amid threats from the Yadav chieftains —RJD’s Lalu Prasad, JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav and SP’s Mulayam Singh Yadav —to form a bloc of Muslims and backward castes against the Congress.
JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav termed the women’s reservation Bill anti-minority. “It will only affect you, not the upper caste,” he said.
Trinamool MP Sultan Ahmed said, “We are already putting pressure to give backward minorities some form of quota. The Bill will reduce minority representation in Parliament.”
“There will be nothing left for us unless we are given our share,” said Habibur Ansari, a weaver from UP's Mau district. CPM MP Brinda Karat said the Left supported the Muslims' demand for reservation.
Two high-level government panels - the Sachar Committee and Ranganath Misra Commission —that probed disadvantages faced by the community had recommended various levels of reservations.