The Andhra Pradesh high court's verdict striking down the 4.5 per cent reservation quota of the central government for the minorities has evoked a strong reaction from the Muslim community.
Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, an influential Muslim political party in Andhra Pradesh with a presence in Parliament, has warned the political parties of serious electoral and political consequences for them if they don't take a clear stand in favour of the much needed reservations for the Muslims.
The MIM president and member of Lok Sabha from Hyderabad Asaduddin Owaisi told the media in Hyderabad on Tuesday that the judgment was legally erroneous as the judges of the high court had failed to appreciate many important facts.
"The lordships have reached a wrong conclusion, they failed to appreciate that this reservation is given to the minorities is not a new thing. High court judgment said that the matter was not referred to the National Commission of Backward Classes which was mandatory under section 9. But the section 9 talks of exclusion or inclusion of a caste in the list of backward castes, and in this case there has been no inclusion or exclusion. Those minorities who were given 4.5 per cent reservations were already benefitting from reservations under 27 per cent quota" he said.
On the observation in the judgment that there was no homogeneity between minority communities, Asaduddin Owaisi countered by asking what was the homogeneity between Munur Kapu and Gowda BCs and between Yadavas and Kurmis. "Homogeneity is of discrimination which the high court has failed to appreciate", he said.
He said that the time had come for all the minorities to question the basis of giving reservations to all the backward classes as there was no empirical data to prove their backwardness. "93 castes in Andhra Pradesh were included in the list of backward classes on half a paragraph long recommendation of the BC commission. But when it comes to Muslims or minorities the recommendations are there and empirical data clearly shows their social and educational backwardness but it is not accepted".
"Data of your backwardness is accepted but empirical data of our backwardness is not accepted even when there are 300 pages of recommendations", he rued.
Describing the reservations an issue of life and death for the Muslims, Owaisi urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the United Progressive Alliance government to take the matter very seriously and file an appeal in Supreme Court against the high court judgment.
He wanted the Union government to get a stay order against the HC judgement so that the minorities' students get the benefit of reservations in the admissions in the IITs, IIMs and in other central government institutions, recruitment in railways and staff selection by various central government organisations.
"The high court order has created a wave of anger in the entire country", he said adding that the 4.5 per cent reservation will get 444 seats in IITs to the minorities. Because of the HC order they will lose them", he said.
He strongly criticised the UPA government for taking the case in the high court casually and sending an assistant attorney general to represent it. "They also did not place the data of backwardness of minorities which was available. When the attorney general can represent the government in Lanco Hills case against the Waqf Board why he cannot appear in the high court for the minorities reservations", he asked.
Owaisi also challenged the political parties like Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal and Rashtriya Janata Dal and other organisations espousing the cause of the backward classes to come out with a clear stand and declare whether they want the minorities to get the reservations as part of the backward classes or not.
"These political parties cannot continue to wear two hats. They will have to make their stand clear or face the rejection by Muslims in 2014 elections".
He rejected the idea of amending constitution to give reservations to the minorities saying it was not necessary.
He also warned the Congress party of the anger of Muslim community if it does not ensure social justice to them. "Our experience in Andhra Pradesh shows that the Muslims need reservations for progress and for their due share in employment and education", he said.