Sonia bats for Muslim reservation

published on May 23, 2010

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi has assured a delegation of Muslim groups that the modalities for providing reservation for the minority community would be worked out in six months. This is the first time the Congress has set a timeframe for fulfilling its electoral promise.

Expressing satisfaction with her commitment, the Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind has suspended its ongoing jail bharo agitation for six months. The delegation, comprising top leaders of Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind, Jamaat-e-Islami, All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and secular activists such as film director Mahesh Bhatt and Swami Agnivesh, also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

They pushed for the implementation of the Ranganath Misra committee report. Singh, however, did not give any commitment, but said his government has, in principle, agreed to the idea of reservation for the backward sections of the community. The 18-member delegation, after meeting the country’s top two leaders, claimed that both were not averse to Muslim reservation.

We are taking her word. We have decided to suspend the ongoing satyagraha and jail bharo agitations for six months,” Jamiat leader and Rajya Sabha MP Mahmood Madani said after the meeting.

Kamal Farooqui, a senior member of the AIMPLB and former chairman of the Delhi Minorities Commission, repeated Madani’s claims. “She (Sonia Gandhi) said the Congress was not averse to the reservation. The modalities are being worked out to ensure that there will be no problem in ensuring quota for the backward Muslims,” Farooqui said. There are no legal barriers before the government,” Farooqui added.

The Jamiat and a number of Muslim organisations were agitating against the UPA government over the non-implementation of the Ranganath Misra committee report. The Jamiat had started a countrywide jail bharo agitation to press for their cause.

The Prime Minister had reportedly said that he would consult with his senior colleagues and try to reach a consensus on the issue. ” He acknowledged that there was no doubt that a section within the Indian society, especially Muslims, had been left behind and urgent steps were needed to provide them a fair and equal opportunity,” the Jamiat said in a statement.

The Jamiat has consulted other party leaders as well on the issues. They met CPM leader Sitaram Yechury on Friday and are scheduled to meet a number of other political leaders – Prakash Karat, A. B. Bardhan, Lalu Prasad, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Sharad Pawar and Mamata Banerjee.    

Read detailed report by A M Jigeesh @India Today

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