A day after the BJP’s key ally Shiv Sena – a hard supporter of Hindutva, come out in support of reservation for Muslims in educational institutions, the AIMIM-led by Asaduddin Owaisi has welcomed the move by calling it a ‘positive development’. The party said that the government should abide by the court’s order of 5% quota for Muslims in educational institutions.
“It is a positive development. The BJP should take a cue… Some BJP leaders, through their acts and utterances, are targeting Muslims,” Imtiaz Jaleel, AIMIM MLA who represents the Aurangabad Central in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, said.
He said that 5% quota demand for the Muslims has received the Bombay High Court’s support. “While rejecting the demands of the Maratha community for OBC status, the High Court had allowed 5% reservation for Muslims,” Jaleel said.
The AIMIM leader noted that the High Court had in its order, in case of the Maratha community, called for setting up of a Backward Classes Commission which rejecting the government’s move. But, he said, “in Muslims’ case, the court has supported the quota in education based on circumstantial evidence”.
Jaleel said that it is highly “regrettable that the state government is yet to implement the HC directive”. He said that the AIMIM leaders are planning to launch an agitation to demand a job quota. “An announcement to this effect will be made soon,” he said.
The development comes in the backdrop of violent protests by Marathas who are demanding 16% reservation in the government-run educational institutions and jobs. The Congress government had in June 2014 approved 16% reservation for Marathas and 5% for Muslims. But in November same year, the Bombay High Court had passed an order staying government’s decision to grant 16% reservation to the Marathas.
Jaleel argued that the court had also stayed the decision to provide a 5% job quota to Muslims in government services, but it allowed quotas for them in educational institutions.
The AIMIM reactions comes a day after Shiv Sena pramukh Uddhav Thackeray at a press conference backed the reservation demand for Muslims in education. Criticising the BJP-led state government of which Sena is also a part, Thackeray said that the ‘Devendra Fadnavis-led government was defying the Bombay High Court’s order by not implementing the 5% quota for Muslims’.
“Apart from the Marathas, reservation demands of Dhangars, Muslims and other communities should also be taken into account,” he had said, adding that the Sena will support the state and the Centre on the issue. On reservation for Muslims, he had said that there were reasonable demands from the Muslim community, they should also be considered.
Meanwhile, a BJP leader said that the erstwhile government of the Congress-NCP had in 2014 issued an ordinance in this regard, but same lapsed on December 23, 2014. “After that, the government scrapped the resolution,” the BJP leader claimed.