Apparently taken aback by Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati successfully pushing the quota in promotion bill, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav sought to counter it in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday by making a strong pitch for reservation in government jobs for Muslims.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Yadav contended that the plight of the minority community was worse than that of the scheduled castes and tribes and asked the government as to what steps it had taken to implement the recommendations of the two committees headed by Rajinder Sachar and Justice Ranganath Misra on the status of Muslims.
Demanding quota for Muslims in government jobs, Yadav said the "precarious" status of the community has been correctly highlighted by the Sachar Committee.
The SP chief was supported by CPI(M) leader Basudeb Acharia when he said the government has not yet clarified what steps it had taken to implement all the recommendations of the panels headed by Sachar and Justice Misra.
The demand was made a day after the Rajya Sabha passed a bill seeking to provide quota for SCs and STs in promotion in government jobs, a measure strongly pushed by Mayawati and on which the SP was staunchly in the opposition.
Responding to the pleas, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said the government had already implemented several recommendations of these committees and was "seriously considering" the remaining ones, including the issue of granting reservations.
Raising a related issue, CPI(M) member Saidul Haque said a large number of Muslim youths had been "wrongfully arrested in false terror cases" and had spent several years in prisons before being released by the courts.
Seeking compensation to and rehabilitation of these youths, Haque termed this as "grave miscarriage of justice" and sought stringent action against police officers responsible for arresting these youths.
He said even courts had said the policemen were "biased" and had "targetted" these young men for being Muslims and demanded amendments in "draconian" laws under which these young men were arrested.
Meanwhile at the "virodh sabha", it was decided that 18 lakh employees and officers supporting the strike, their families and intellectuals would teach a lesson to Congress and BJP in the coming elections.
Terming the day when the bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha as a "black day", samiti president Shailendra Dubey said since now it would be taken up in the Lok Sabha, the indefinite strike will continue till the ongoing Parliament session and thereon a future strategy will be chalked out.
Speakers at the protest meeting said that the constitutional amendment bill would lead to disharmony in society.
They condemned that this bill would deprive 78 per cent staff belonging to general and backward categories of promotions.