Dalit Muslims join reservation issue, demand share

The Times of India News Service

PATNA: Despite a 'truce' between RJD chief Laloo Prasad Yadav and land reforms minister Ramai Ram over the new reservation formula, the controversy over the issue has spilled over to other parties and organisations, with various outfits demanding their pound of flesh.

National convener of All India Backward Muslim Morcha M Ejaz Ali has demanded three per cent separate reservation for the `Dalit Muslims' out of the 9 per cent which has been distributed among various castes in Bihar.

Ali in a press meet on Monday, pointed out that in South Indian states, like Tamil Nadu, several sections of the Muslims, like marakayar and raouther, had been classified as scheduled castes. He pointed out that in several castes categorised in the scheduled castes such as nats, pasi, mochi, dom and others have Muslim populations also. He suggested the hike of quota for scheduled castes should be hiked from 14 per cent to 17 per cent by including Dalit Muslims or give a separate three per cent reservation.

BJP leaders like general secretary Kameshwar Paswan and Vishwanath Bhagat charged the Laloo-Rabri regime of fooling Dalits in giving them quota. They pointed out that the Indian Constitution is confined to the reservation of scheduled caste and tribes and does not talk of proportionate reservation for other castes, they insisted. They claimed that the latest census of Bihar revealed that there are 16 per cent Dalits in the state and demanded 18 per cent reservation for Dalits in the state. They urged the governor to return the proposal of the state cabinet.

Vice president of Bihar Nationalist Congress Iftikhar Ahmad Khan demanded that five per cent quota should be given for the minorities, three per cent for poor upper castes and three per cent for women-irrespective of their caste or community. He recalled that the RJD, in its election manifesto, had promised 10 per cent job quota for the minorities which it failed to implement. He pointed out that the backward castes and Dalits had not demanded a hike in their quota. By abolishing the Karpoori formula, Laloo had created caste tension and the opportunity should have been used to provide reservation to other sections of the society.

Bahujan Samaj leader Ramesh Kumar demanded the increase of quota of the extremely backward castes from 14 per cent to 45 per cent in accordance with their population. He pointed out that several castes had been included in the already long list of extremely backward castes. He said that his party would launch an agitation.

The controversy has already snow balled with expelled RJD leader Ranjan Yadav and Union minister Nitish Kumar dubbing the Ramai-Laloo tiff as `stage managed' to create social strife. With different views on the new formula coming up every day, RJD circles feel tat the issue may grow bigger than the leadership can handle.

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Referred by: Mukundan CM
Published on: May 30, 2001
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