Muslims cry foul over scrapped reservations, amended beef law

  • HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Mar 07, 2015 22:22 IST

Two recent decisions by Maharashtra government – the blanket ban on the slaughter of bulls and bullocks and the scrapping of Muslim reservations – have caused resentment among the community.

A government resolution (GR) issued on March 2 did not only scrap the 5% reservation given to Muslims by the previous Congress-NCP government in July 2014, but also created confusion over the future of the students enrolled under the quota.

The government retained the reservation benefits for Marathas, announced simultaneously by the previous government.

“People in the community were positive about the BJP-led government in the state, as it had assured people of development for all. We thought the government should be given time to prove itself. But the recent developments have sent a wrong message to the Muslim community,” said Dr Zahir Kazi, president of Anjuman-E-Islam.

Aamir Idresy, president of Association of Muslim Professionals, called the decisions communal. “While in his speeches, the CM always says the state cannot progress without Muslims, his government is taking steps to prevent the community from developing. The blanket ban on beef consumption will also hit the community hard,” he said.

Former social justice minister and Congress leader Shivajirao Moghe said the government could have retained the reservation for Muslims had it wanted to. “The BJP-led government made its intentions clear in December, when it dropped Muslims from the bill passed in the legislature.”

Former minority welfare minister and Congress leader Arif Naseem Khan said the scrapping the quota has made Muslim students uneasy. “State chief Ashok Chavan and other leaders have been receiving SMSes and phone calls from students, saying their colleges have threatened to cancel their admissions,” he said.

Former IAS officer Mahmood-ur-Rehman, who headed the panel that prepared a report on the socio-economic condition of Muslims in the state, based on which the previous government had announced the reservations, wondered why he laboured over the study at all. “The quashing of reservations shows the government wants the community to continue floundering.

## Congress divided over supporting beef ban
The Congress, which has traditionally enjoyed the support of the minority community, is divided over its support to the ban on slaughter of bulls and bullocks. The party had announced, soon after the Act received the President’s nod, that it was in favour of the ban. Its ally and partner in the government for 15 years, NCP, has opposed the move.

“The Muslim community feels the ban is just taking forward the RSS agenda. In such a scenario, our party should have not supported the move,” said a top party leader

## The reservation story
* In July 2104, the then Congress-NCP government had announced 16% reservation for Marathas and 5% for Muslims in education and jobs

* The Bombay high court had stayed the proposed reservations, but upheld the 5% for Muslims in education, while scrapping reservation for jobs

* The HC said the reservations in the state exceeded the 50% cap set by the Supreme Court. In 2008, the Supreme Court had stated reiterated that the total reservation for SC/ST and other backward classes or special categories in a state should not exceed 50%

* In December 2104, the new BJP-led government brought in a bill to uphold the reservation for Marathas

* “We will protect all the admissions and the jobs secured during the period of the ordinance which was in force for the admission. We could not pass a bill for Muslim reservation in December as the session ended. We will try to bring it in the bdget session [starting Monday]. I will discuss it with my cabinet colleagues,” said Eknath Khadse, Minorities development minister.

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