Maharashtra Muslims make fresh demand for reservation

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NCP leader Saleem Sarang has met Deputy CM Ajit Pawar (left) several times, demanding reservation for Muslims.

By Heena Fatima

MUMBAI—Days after Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde gave the draft resolution of Maratha reservation to Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange, a section of Muslim leaders in the state have renewed their demand for 5% Muslim reservation in jobs and education.

NCP leader and All India Ulema Board’s Wakf Committee head Saleem Sarang had taken a delegation to deputy CM Ajit Pawar with demand for Muslim quota. Pawar, after meeting the Muslim delegation, announced that the government would give Muslims 5% reservation.

“Several inquiry commissions found that the economic and educational backwardness of the Muslims was worse than that of Dalits and recommended reservation for the community. Even Ajit Pawar had announced that the government would honour Bombay High Court’s order about the Muslim reservation. When Muslim reservation given by the Congress-NCP government in 2014 was challenged in the High Court, the High Court allowed 5% reservation in education. Yet this government has ignored our demand and denied. We welcome the settlement of the Maratha reservation issue, but reiterate our demand for Muslim reservation,” said Sarang.

Activist M A Khalid who took several meetings and delegations for the demand of Muslim reservation said the community, would hit the streets for their demand for reservation. “If the government wants to do justice and if it follows the principle of equality and fairness, it should give Muslim reservation. It should give reservations to Muslims in at least education which even the High Court had allowed,” said Khalid.

“We welcome the reservation to the Maratha community the Congress-NCP government had given in 2014. Our government had also given reservations to the Muslims. We demand that the CM takes a decision and announces reservation to Muslims,” said former minority development minister Arif Naseem Khan. Khan was the minority minister when the Congress-NCP government identified 50 economically backward classes among Muslims and gave them 5% reservation in education and jobs. When this quota was challenged in the Bombay High Court, the court allowed 5% reservation to Muslims in education.

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