On Friday, Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) said it would move court demanding quota for Muslims in education and government jobs.
The decision to move court was taken after the two MLAs – one from Congress and AIMIM each – raised the demand in the Assembly on Friday, but chief minister Devendra Fadnavis immediately rejected it, saying there could be no reservation based on religion. He advised them to go to the state backward class commission with their demand.
In an unusual move, the Shiv Sena too supported the demand for Muslim reservation in the state. “Just like our senior leader Uddhav Thackeray had said, Shiv Sena will fight for the rights of all the downtrodden. If the Backward Class Commission says that Muslims are backward, we will support and fight for their cause too,” Shiv Sena MLA Sunil Prabhu told CNN News18.
The Maharashtra legislature had on Thursday unanimously passed a bill giving 16 per cent reservation to the Marathas. This 16 per cent reservation is over and above the 50 per cent reservation allowed by the Supreme Court. Currently, 52 per cent seats in Maharashtra are reserved and the Maratha quota will take it to 68 per cent.
The AIMIM said Muslims, too, deserve benefits of the reservation system as they have “lived for generations in poverty.”
Party legislator Imtiyaz Jaleel said he doesn’t expect anything from this “anti-Muslim government” and their only hope is the judiciary. “Do they think Muslims live in palaces or mansions? If Marathas are given reservation, Muslims should be given reservation too. What are the criteria on which Marathas have been given reservation? That 93 per cent of them have income below 1 lakh? That is ridiculous,” he said.
In a tweet, Owaisi, also said that depriving backward Muslims of their fair share in public employment and education was a grave injustice. “I have consistently argued that there are backward castes in Muslims who have lived for generations in a cycle of poverty. Reservation is a tool that will break this cycle,” he stated.
Jaleel further said Muslims’ demands for 5 per cent reservation in education was endorsed even by the High Court. He said the “hurriedly” passed Bill for reservation to Marathas mentions the backwardness of the community on the basis of findings by a government-appointed commission.
“Going by the same logic, the plight of Muslims who have been regarded as socially, educationally and economically backward by three commissions – the Sachhar Commission, the Ranganath Mishra Commission and the Mehmood Rehman commission – should also have been given the same benefits as those being given to Marathas,” he said.
NCP leader Vidya Chavan said, “This government is anti-Muslim. It won’t give justice to the Muslims. We had started the process of giving reservation.” Meanwhile, Dhangar leader Prakash Shendge said the Chief Minister had deceived the community by promising reservation four years ago, and then by backtracking on the promise.
Patidar leader Hardik Patel has also asked Thursday why the BJP government in Gujarat can’t take the same step for his community.
He sought a survey to establish social and economic backwardness of Patidars, on the lines of a survey ordered by the BJP-led Maharashtra government for the Maratha community.
“No such survey was done in Gujarat. The survey would prove that Patidar community is socially and economically backward,” he said.