Plight of Muslims in Maharashtra worse than OBCs, Marathas: Former MP Hussain Dalwai
In Maharashtra, only 2-3% of Muslims graduate and 2-2.5% secure jobs in the government or private sector, despite comprising 11.5% of the population
With barely 2-3 per cent of Muslims graduating and hardly 2-2.5 per cent getting jobs in the government or private sector, the plight of the community in Maharashtra is worse than that of the Other Backward Calsses (OBCs) or Marathas, making a strong case for quotas in jobs and education, which is on the agenda for Maulana Vichar Manch president and ex-MP Hussain Dalwai, who has convened a national-level Muslim Rights Conference on 28 October.
Addressing the media, Dalwai said though Muslims comprise around 11.5 per cent of Maharashtra’s population, their representation in education and jobs is minimal. He added that the number of Muslims living below the poverty line (BPL) was the highest among all other communities.
Dalwai also said nearly 75 per cent of children in the 6-14 age group drop out of school within the first few years, and barely 2-3 per cent are able to graduate or obtain higher education. Consequently, they hold hardly 2-2.5 per cent of jobs in the government and private sector.
Dwelling on the historic aspects at the national level, Dalwai said the late prime minister Indira Gandhi had set up the Dr Gopal Singh Commission with the late Dr Rafiq Zakari as a member, and he first proved the decline within Muslim society with correlational statistics and authentic data.
“After that, a 15-point programme was announced for the Muslim community, but was never implemented, so there was no improvement in their social, academic and economic levels,” Dalwai said.
Later, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh set up the Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee, and he made a comparative study of Muslim and non-Muslim societies to reveal the exact condition of Muslim society to the country. This was followed by the Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission, which clearly stated the need for reservation for Muslims.
In Maharashtra, the then Congress government set up a commission in May 2008 headed by Dr Mehmood-ur Rahman, which recommended at least 8 per cent quota for Muslims.
Finally, in July 2014, the then Congress government granted 5 per cent reservation to Muslims (along with the Maratha quotas), giving quotas to 50 categories of Muslims, but there were many errors in the government circular.
“However, while the Maratha community circular was cleared by the social justice department, the Muslim reservation proposal was passed by the minority welfare department, though the authority was vested with the social justice department,” claimed Dalwai.
He rued that Muslims, especially those who are economically backward, need quotas and concessions in education but no government has taken any action on this count in the last 10 years.
“While the government and leaders of various political parties have promised to do their best for Maratha quotas, no party or leader is willing to take a stand on reservations for Muslims, who have been deprived of education and development for generations, leading to great unrest,” warned Dalwai.
He urged all leaders, political and social, to put aside their differences and speak up for providing Muslims with education, jobs, livelihood, healthcare, poverty-alleviation and Constitutional rights, on the lines of other communities.
“Beside quotas, Muslims should get equal representation in power, wealth and prestige. Funds on the lines of other communities and tribes should be provided in Union and state budgets based on their population apart from 100 per cent scholarships and hostel accommodation at the district levels, etc,” urged Dalwai.
In order to ascertain the current status, he said there should be a census of the Muslim community on the lines of the recent caste survey in Bihar, deploying Waqf resources for the welfare of the community, and stringent laws to abolish mob-lynching.
The seminar on Saturday will be attended by Muslim leaders like Dr Farooq Abdullah, Dr Salman Khurshid, Mohammed Adib, Dr Amin Patel, Wajahat Mirza, Abdul Rahman, Yusuf Abrahani, Maulana Naseem Siddiqui, NCP president Sharad Pawar, Congress state chief Nana Patole, Mumbai Congress president Varsha Gaikwad, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aditya Thackeray, and MP Arvind Sawant.