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No political agenda behind Muslim quota: Nasim Khan

Friday, 27 June 2014 - 7:50am IST | Agency: dna

Amid uproar over 5 per cent quota for Muslims, Minorities Welfare Minister Nasim Khan says that the decision was not based on religious considerations but on grounds of backwardness. Speaking to Dhaval Kulkarni, Khan tried to assuage the objections by backward Muslims who charge that religion-based quotas will largely benefit upper-caste Muslims. Here are excerpts:
  • Nasim Khan

Q: What was the rationale behind the decision?
: In the last 20 years, demands have been made to mainstream minorities, especially Muslims. According to the findings of the Mehmood-ur-Rehman committee, there was not a single Muslim IAS officer in Maharashtra cadre and the percentage of Muslims in class II and III jobs in the state and higher education was also low. Hence, we decided to grant reservations to Muslims from the non-creamy layer.

Q: Muslim OBC organisations and leaders have opposed quotas to the Muslims as a community. They say reservations for backward Muslims must be strengthened.
: The existing 19% reservations for OBCs will not be touched as this will be unjust. So, a separate category will be created to help backward Muslims. Those covered under other categories like OBCs will not be able to get quota benefits here.

Q: The opposition says this is nothing but a political game
: This reservation has not been granted on religious basis. The Shiv Sena and BJP always try to give a communal colour to issues concerned with the development of minorities. Our decision has no correlation with the polls. Otherwise, we would have done this before the Lok Sabha elections. The process is on for the last 15 years and this has not happened overnight.

Q: What other measures are necessary for mainstreaming the Muslims?
: Maharashtra has always been known for ensuring social justice. The quota decision came on the eve of Chatrapati Rajshri Shahu Maharaj's birth anniversary. (The ruler of Kolhapur was the first to begin the system of 50% quotas in his kingdom in 1902).

Q: Some Muslim bodies want gender sensitive laws and even a uniform civil code for the welfare of the community and especially its women?
: No comments.

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