Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Mirage called reservation

After showing a mirage of reservation to Indian Muslims immediately after independence, the political parties continued to lure this 'minority' community by promising reservations of a different kind, especially before elections. Time and again we have seen political parties playing the minority card. The Congress party promised 5% reservation to the Muslim community in education institutions and government jobs before 2004 general elections. Though the YSR Government after coming to power tried to fulfill this promise, however, the policy was struck down by the courts in 2005.

Later, it referred the matter to a Backward Classes Commission which recommended reservation for 15 economically and socially backward 'castes' of Muslims. On 23rd July 2007, the Andhra Pradesh Government passed a legislation giving 4% reservation to the identified 'castes' under BC-E category. However, a seven-member constitutional bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court struck down this legislation too on three different grounds.

Now, the West Bengal Government is showing a similar mirage of 10% quota in employment for the Muslim community under the OBC category. Since the government is still in the process of identifying the educationally, socially and ecumenically backward Muslims, it is not yet certain whether this promise would be fulfilled before the 2011 assembly elections. While the Andhra Pradesh Government is preparing to contest the High Court order in the Supreme Court, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi came up with a bigger mirage of promising 12 per cent reservation to Muslims in the proposed Telangana state.

There is no dispute that a majority of Muslims are still backward, but they should stop chasing such mirages. The 4% or even 10% reservation would only confine the Muslims, and owing to this, they would not try hard to get a share in the remaining 96 or 90 per cent of share that they deserve to get as Indians.

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