By Mumtaz Alam Falahi, 18th July 2009
New Delhi: The Ranganath Misra Commission Report must be tabled in the Parliament without any further delay, the Presidential Order of 1950 should be amended to include Dalit Muslims in the list of Scheduled Castes, and a fund of Rs 25,000 crore should be allocated in the annual budget for the community, demanded Muslim MPs, intellectuals and bureaucrats in a round table conference in New Delhi last week.
The conference titled Round Table on Muslim Development Agenda was jointly organised by National Economic Forum for Muslims (NEFM), Jamaat-e-Islami Hindi and Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind at India International Centre in New Delhi. It was aimed at preparing next 5 years Development Agenda for the community. The meeting was chaired by the Union Minister of Minority Affairs, Salman Khursheed and participated by several MPs and other eminent persons from the community.
JD-U Member of Rajya Sabha from Bihar Ali Anwar strongly put his views about reservation to Muslims. While criticizing the government for its dilly-dallying on the Ranganath Misra Commission Report he said the report must be tabled in the Parliament without any further delay. “It has presented a cure to the disease diagnosed by the Sachar Committee,” he said referring to the Misra Report which has recommended 10% reservation to Muslims. He strongly supported inclusion of Dalit Muslims in the category of SCs, adding this will immensely empower the community politically.
“There are 119 Lok Sabha seats and 1050 state assembly seats which are closed for Muslims as these seats are reserved for SCs/STs,” he said and urged Muslim politicians and religious leaders to back the move to include Muslims in these categories.
Anis Ansari, former Additional Chief Secretary, UP expressed the need for strategies for more political power of the community as this help them develop. He also demanded inclusion of Dalit Muslims in SC. “For this there is a need for change in the constitutional order 1950, which says only Hindus are SCs,” he said. “Sikhs and Buddhists have been added later in the list, Muslims and Christians should also be included. This will help increase number of Muslim legislators both in the states and national parliament.” He also demanded Special Component Plan for OBCs, on the pattern of SC/ST. In UP there are 30 Muslim castes that are in OBCs.
Earlier opening the program NEFM president M J Khan explained the purpose of the program, and urged the community leaders to be united and unanimous on the development agenda for the community.
M. Abdul Rahman, Lok Sabha MP from Vellore, urged the community to be brief in their demands. “There is a need for very few concentrated programs so that the government could be forced to implement them,” he said. He requested Union Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshee, who was presiding over the conference, to find out ways to lay the Misra report in the Parliament.
Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah stressed on equal opportunities for Muslims. “There should be level playing field for Muslims. They need equal opportunities,” he said. He said there are two areas where the community needs to put attention to remove their backwardness.
“Muslims are lagging behind other communities in every field because they are lagging in education and health also. They need to get modern education. There should be a system in madrasas where students could get modern education as well.”
Several Members of Parliament totally dismissed the peanut offered to the minorities in the budget and the bungling done by FM whereby he talked of increase of 74% (from Rs. 1000 crore to rs. 1700 crore). They pointed out that in the budget the NMDFC and Maulana Azad Foundation budget has been merged and thus the net increase is only Rs. 100 crore. The MPs were unanimous that the Community need to catch up on educational and economic development, it needs a special component plan of nothing less than Rs. 25,000 crore annually.
In his address Minister of Minority Affairs Salman Khursheed said that neither he nor his Government is against the tabulation of the Misra Commission report in the Parliament for debate. He said that the Government is examining it and will decide appropriately on its timing and presenting ATR.
The demand for removal of religion based discriminatory clause 3 under Article 341, which was imposed by a Presidential Order in 1950 and contradicts the secular character of the Indian Constitution, was forcefully put up by most MPs. On this issue Khursheed said that such religion based discrimination under our secular Constitution has no place in our democratic country while adding that the Government is in seize of the matter and the same has been recommended by the National Schedule Castes Commission, besides Mishra Commission.