Sunday, February 26, 2006


Muslim quota 'a must' in all jobs, schools

Kanchan Gupta/ New Delhi

Sachar Committee note lists demands, says have a Muslim on SSB ---- Muslim "intellectuals, NGOs, activists and academicians" with whom the 'Prime Minister's High Level Committee For Preparation of Report on Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community of India' has interacted so far have demanded that "there should be at least one Muslim on each selection board, including the SSB (Services Selection Board)" that conducts recruitment tests for the Defence forces.

The committee, headed by retired Justice Rajinder Sachar, is in the eye of a raging storm over its audacious attempt to gather information about the number and ranks of Muslims in the defence forces by writing directly to the service chiefs.

Muslims have also petitioned the Sachar committee to recommend that "affirmative action should be taken for bringing the representation of Muslims in the police force at par with their population in every State." In other words, they have demanded proportionate representation in the police through the quota route.

These and other demands are listed in a note on "Issues raised at meetings with, intellectuals, NGOs, activists, academicians and district representatives, business community, youth and later discussed with Chief Ministers, Chief Secretaries and other state level civil and police officers" prepared by the Sachar committee.

"Whenever recruitment is going to be made the intention of the Government should be widely publicised through print and electronic media in the local language in the areas of substantial Muslim population," the note says, adding, "The district Superintendents of Police may have meetings with the officers of Employment Exchange and public and service commissions; the latter may organise special registration camps in areas of substantial Muslim presence. The actual process of recruitment should begin after all this exercise is in place."

The committee has also listed the demand that "there should be Minority Cells in UPSC, AICT, CBSE, IITs, etc." At another place, the note says, "Reservation (for Muslims) in jobs and educational institutions is a must."

But, if and when Muslim quota is institutionalised, "In Government employment Muslims who qualify on merit should not be counted against their quota of reservation (general or OBC, as the case may be)," the note says. It asserts, "Clear instruction should be given by the Governments to Public Service Commissions and all others. Rules of procedure should not preempt the policy of reservation given to Muslims."

The note lists several demands for proportionate representation of Muslims in politics through either the reservation route or nominations: "Muslims should be nominated, like Anglo-Indians, to Parliament, Assemblies and municipal bodies, wherever their representation falls short of their population percentage... Autonomous Councils should have Muslim nominees."

There is also a demand to fix a "quota for Muslim beneficiaries of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan." The committee has been asked to recommend generous funding for madarsas and their registration without following established procedures. "There is a strong case for relaxation of norms of recognition of educational institutions established by Muslims," according to the note.

While "Muslim history has been tarnished in many text books and should be corrected," Muslim NGOs "should be allotted land for building schools" and "those who are in the process of establishing schools for Muslims should be helped out by way of having a soft corner."

Government should "happily and quickly accord minority status to those institutions who apply for it," the note says. As for Aligarh Muslim University, "Central HRD Ministry's order for 50 % reservation for Muslims in AMU is laudable," the committee has been told.

But "the recent Allahabad High Court order nullifying it as well as the minority character of AMU should be undone through parliamentary legislation."

Muslims have demanded, according to this note, that the Union Government should create a corpus fund of Rs 100 crores to be used for giving "loans to Muslims without charging interest".

They want that the "Central Government should pay interest from the education budget."

Moreover, "banks should be advised to simplify the loan disbursement process" for Muslims.

Significantly, these and scores of other demands are likely to form the bulk of the Sachar committee's recommendations to the UPA Government for planning. As well as formulating and implementing specific interventions, policies and programmes for Muslim welfare.

If the note listing the demands is any indication, communal quota could soon be a reality in every sphere of national life in India.


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