Mangalore, March 12: “The only way to deliver Muslims from their ghettos and shanty towns is reservation,” said K M Shareef, the national general secretary of Popular Front of India (PFI). He was speaking at an awareness programme organized by the PFI as part of its 2-month-long nationwide reservation campaign at Nehru Maidan on March 12, Friday.
Over 7000 people participated in this programme, including PFI activists in their hundreds from various parts of undivided Dakshina Kannada. Shareef voiced his opinion that India’s progress is closely associated with the progress of Indian Muslims and added that reservation is essential for the welfare of Indian Muslims today. He warned that, if the government fails to grant Muslims their right, they will come out on the streets and get it.
Expressing appreciation of the secular constitution of India, which ensured equality to all its citizens, he pointed out that Indian Muslims are deprived of their constitutional rights. Accusing the political parties of being responsible for widespread corruption in the country, he warned that these corrupt politicians are handing over the sovereignty of this country to its enemies and to foreigners.
Bringing attention to the report submitted by the High Level Committee of the Prime Minister or the Justice Rajindar Sachchar Committee in Nov 2006, which had identified the Muslim Community as the most backward community of all backward communities, Mr. Shareef said this report is being discussed in private, but not in places of policy making such as parliaments and assemblies.
E Aboobakker, the national president of the Social Democratic Party of India, accused political parties of sidelining the Muslim Community. Mentioning the Sachchar Committee Report’s facts and figures, he said that Muslim representation in government and educational service is much lower compared to their population, adding that the gap between Muslims and other communities increases as their level of education increases. He declared that the rate of unemployment among Muslims is the highest. Under these circumstances, the recommendations of the recently submitted Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission Report become significant. E Aboobakker remarked that the Sachchar Report has diagnosed the malady and the Mishra Report has prescribed the right medication for the problem.
The Mishra Commission has earmarked 15 percent of government jobs and seats in educational institutions for minorities, of which 10 percent is meant exclusively for the Muslim Community. Alternatively, it has also suggested earmarking 8.4 percent of the existing OBC quota of 27 percent for minorities, of which 6 percent is meant exclusively for Muslim OBCs.
Deekayya, the chief of the Samaja Parivarthana Chalavali of Mudubidri, said that the upper caste people have successfully grabbed political power from the minorities and non Brahmins by sowing the seeds of division among the Dalits and Muslims. Political struggle is the only way to eradicate social justice, he declared.
William Martis, the president of the Udyavara Church, was one of the chief guests of the programme. He said that Dalits and Christians are ready to struggle for social justice with the Muslim Community.
Elyas Muhammed, the president of PFI Karnataka, said in his presidential address that there is no legal problem regarding the provision of reservation for Muslims; but the government needs to make sincere efforts on its part.
Anwar Sadath, the president of PFI of DK district made the welcome and introductory speech. Haider Neersal, the president of PFI Puttur proposed the vote of thanks.