“We do not want to talk about the same promises made by other parties for decades to exploit minorities”

Clearing its stand on minority issues, the Aam Aadmi Party said on Monday it would not push for “religion-based reservation” as it does not want to take a route which may find constitutional and judicial roadblocks.

The AAP’s assertion came during a party initiative for Muslim outreach where its prominent Muslim face Irfanullah Khan said: “We don’t sell dreams that cannot be realised. The judiciary, including the Supreme Court, had objections with the idea of religion-based reservation.”

Mr. Khan’s statement is a reiteration of the stand of the party’s national convener Arvind Kejriwal, who said in a meeting with the Muslim community last week, that the AAP will fight for security and justice for everybody, including Muslims.

In the same meeting, AAP’s spokesperson and sociologist Anand Kumar had said: “Kuchh duur ke baad reservation ka darwaza band ho jaata hai (The door of reservation closes beyond a point).”

The AAP vision document terms reservation for “the deprived and marginalised sections” as “essential to resolve the issue of social inequality.”

Justifying the party’s stand on religion-based reservation, Mr. Khan said: “We do not want to talk about the same slogans and promises, which have been used by other parties for decades to exploit the minority community, which also provoked allegations of ‘minority appeasement’.”

In December 2011, the UPA government brought in a provision to allow 4.5 per cent reservation to the OBCs in minority communities within the 27 per cent seats meant for the Other Backward Classes (OBCs). The move was later quashed by the Andhra Pradesh High Court. The matter is pending in the Supreme Court.

Some AAP leaders told The Hindu that the party does not want to touch a controversial issue like Muslim reservation, given the community itself is divided on the issue. Reservation has been a long-standing demand of a section of the minority community, especially its upper caste Ashraaf leadership.

But since the mandalisation of the Muslim community and emergence of leaders from its ajlaafs (lower caste communities) such as qureishis (butchers), julahas (weavers), nais (barbers), raeens (vegetable growers), telis (oil pressers) and malis (gardeners), there has been a strong opposition to reservation to every Muslim irrespective of their caste.

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