Speakers at a convention organised by the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind here on Monday demanded reservation in jobs and education for Muslims in proportion to their percentage in population. They said the quota offered to a section of the community in the Other Backward Class (OBC) category would not serve the purpose.
The convention, titled “Reservation for Muslims: Nation’s need”, was organised ahead of the Assembly elections in Rajasthan to apparently put pressure on the ruling Congress.
Repeated references were made to the promises made by the Congress following the recommendations made by statutory commissions.
JUH national general secretary Maulana Mahmood Madani said memorandums with 25 lakh signatures obtained from across the country were handed over to the President and Prime Minister with the demand.
“The ruling party is yet to realise that the nation cannot progress if a section of population remains backward and [is] denied equal opportunities for development.”
Demands for quota for the entire Muslim community have been raised at various forums following the recommendations of the Ranganath Misra Commission and Rajinder Sachar Committee.
It is likely to become an election issue in the run-up to the Assembly polls being held in five States later this year.
In a veiled reference to the election meetings of BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Mr. Madani said those opposing “ topi ” (skull cap) and “ dupatta ” (shawl) were now purchasing them.
There were reports that men and women dressed like Muslims were brought in large numbers to Mr. Modi’s rallies.
Mr. Madani, a former Rajya Sabha MP, said the Madrasa Boards established in several States in the country were not serving any purpose.
He said the Muslims were capable of managing the affairs of their religious seminaries without the government’s interference.
The JUH, owing allegiance to prestigious Darul Uloom of Deoband, enjoys a considerable influence on the political parties in northern States.
Its leaders, earlier considered close to the Congress, were often consulted by the government on the issues relating to minorities.
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind national secretary M. Salim Engineer and JUH Rajasthan unit general secretary Abdul Wahid Khatri were among those who addressed the convention.
Social activists, Jamiat members and community leaders from all over the State attended the event.