‘Give Muslims jobs, development benefits to bridge alienation’

February 1st, 2009 IANS
New Delhi, Feb 1 (IANS) Former chief justice A.M. Ahmadi said Muslims in India were victims of “discrimination”, as a convention here Sunday recommended job reservations and other developmental benefits for bridging the “alienation” of the country’s largest minority community.”Muslims in post independent India have been victims of direct or indirect discrimination. Muslims are suffering from a sense of alienation and frustration,” Ahmadi said.
The former chief justice was speaking at the National Convention on Muslim Reservation in the capital organised by Joint Committee of Muslim Organisations for Empowerment.
Many Muslim groups and representatives of various political parties participated in the convention.
Ahmadi said special efforts were needed to “bring the community in the mainstream”.
The convention recommended 10 percent reservation for Muslims in: central and state government jobs and higher and professional institutions.
It also said special development and welfare benefits and bank loans should be given for the empowerment of the community.
Syed Shahabuddin, ex MP and the convener of the convention, in his introductory speech said the Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee and Ranganath Mishra Commission had recognised the Muslim community as a Backward Class.
He appealed to the government to accept their recommendations.
The Sachar committee, appointed by the Manmohan Singh government, compiled an exhaustive report on the social, economic and educational status of the nearly 140 million Muslims in India. India is home to the world’s third largest Muslim population after Indonesia and Pakistan.
“The minorities must apply all possible democratic pressure on the political system for the acceptance and implementation of recommendation of the Sachar committee as well as the Mishra commission,” Shahabuddin said.
Chemical, Fertilizer and Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan supported the demands.
The minister demanded the extension of benefits of Scheduled Caste category to those converted to Islam.

Communist Party of India general secretary A.B. Bardhan said: “The goal of development of the country can not be achieved by keeping 15 percent population backward.”