At a time when protests are being held in Maharashtra for the restoration of quotas for Marathas in jobs and education and OBCs in local bodies, a Congress leader on Tuesday demanded that 5 per cent reservation be granted to the Muslim community in education, which he claimed had been approved by the Maha Vikas Aghadi of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress.
He also recalled the assurance given by state minority affairs minister Nawab Malik of NCP last year on the issue. Senior leader Naseem Khan, deputy president of Maharashtra Congress unit, has written to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat stating that the then Congress-NCP government had provided 5 per cent reservation to Muslims in jobs and education in 2014.
He demanded a special package for Muslims like other communities till the quota is approved for them. ”The High Court had quashed the Maratha quota but upheld the Muslim quota in education. Reservation for Muslims is sought not on the basis of the religion but on their educational and economic backwardness,” he stated.
“Between 2014 and 2019, I repeatedly demanded that quota be restored to Muslims, but the then BJP government did not relent. The (Muslim quota) issue figures in the Congress-NCP manifesto for the 2019 polls and was also approved by the Maha Vikas Aghadi (comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress) as well,” he said. Khan recalled that NCP leader and state minority affairs minister Nawab Malik had last year said that a decision on Muslim quota would be taken.
“There is resentment among the Muslim community that the announcement is not being implemented by the MVA. Till the Muslim quota is restored, the government should provide a special package for Muslims like it is doing for other communities for removal of their backwardness,” he said. The then Congress-NCP government in the state had issued an ordinance giving a five per cent quota to Muslims in 2014 along with a 16 per cent quota for the Maratha community.
The BJP-Shiv Sena government which followed enacted a law for Maratha reservation but dropped the Muslim quota. In May this year, the Supreme Court struck down the Maratha quota law, terming the statute as unconstitutional. Various Maratha organisations have been holding protests in Maharashtra demanding restoration of the quota in government jobs and education.