Says it cannot be formed in haste

The Wakf Board will be constituted soon, Minister for Backward Classes and Minorities Welfare A. Mohammedjan told the Assembly on Wednesday.

Moving the demands for grants to his department and responding to the plea of a number of members for early constitution of the Wakf Board, the Minister said it was a very important body and hence could not be constituted in haste. The chairman and members should be chosen with utmost care, he added.

On the properties of the Wakf Board, the Minister said that as many as 84 encroachments had been removed and 5.77 lakh sqft of land worth Rs 130 crore had been restored to the Board since the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam took over about a year ago.

Besides, as many as 6,723 dargahs had been registered, and all the remaining ones would be registered, he added.

Mr. Mohammedjan also announced that the demand for classifying 24-Manai Telugu Chettiar as a Most Backward Class was also under the consideration of the government.

When a number of members, including S. John Jacob and J.G.Prince (Congress), raised the issue of extending scheduled caste status to Dalit Christians, the Minister pointed out that it could be done only by the Central government and the State government had no locus standi.

Though Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam had been a constituent of the Central government for long, it had failed to get the issue solved in favour of the Dalit Christians, K.P. Munusamy, Minister for Local Administration, alleged. It was only Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, who ensured legal protection to the existing 60 per cent reservation in 1993 by enacting a law in a special Assembly session.

A. Soundrarajan (CPI-M), C.K. Tamilarasan (RPI) and S. Gunasekaran (CPI) also lamented how the Congress had failed to champion the cause of these people despite being in power for long.

Speaker D. Jayakumar put an end to the issue saying if it was accepted by Parliament, it would automatically become the law of the land.

M.H. Jawahirulla of Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK) demanded that the quota for Muslims be increased as recommended by the Ranganath Misra Commission. He also accused the United Progressive Alliance Government at the Centre and the Congress, which is heading it, of chicanery on the issue of reservation for Muslims.

The current quota of 3.5 per cent was so small that when the roster system was applied to admissions for courses like the MBBS it resulted in a lot of practical difficulties.

The Minister said reservation for Muslims in Tamil Nadu was based only on the population. The demand for increasing it would be taken to the notice of the Chief Minister, he added.

P.V. Kathiravan (Forward Bloc) urged the government to implement the order passed in 1995 clubbing Kallar, Maravar and Ahamudiar communities under one nomenclature – Thevar – in letter and spirit.

A.Ganesh Kumar, PMK, demanded separate reservation for Vanniars, based on their population.