Several Muslim organisations have disfavoured the women's reservation bill in its present form and demanded that the government take up the measure only if it provides for a quota within quota to women belonging to Muslim, Dalit and Other Backward Class communities.
Leaders and supporters of the All India Milli Council, the Jamat-e-Islami Hind, the Jamat-e-Ulama, the Muslim Political Council and several other mulsim organisations took out a silent march to press their demand in New Delhi, urging the political parties "to respond to the call of conscience in Parliament on the women's reservation bill".
"We believe in emancipation and empowerment of women as a whole. We welcome the passage of the Women Reservation Bill today on the occasion of the International Women's Day, but definitely not in its present form," general secretary of All India Milli Council M Manzoor Alam said.
"We demand that out of the (proposed) 33 percent reservation, at least 17 percent should be given to women belonging to Muslim, dalits and OBC communities," he added.
Alam said that the United Progressive Alliance government should not act "on the Bharatiya Janata Party agenda which seeks to empower those women who are already in power"
"If the bill is passed in its present form, the women belonging to minorities, Dalits and other backward communities would be further disempowered," he said.
Mujtaba Farooq of Jamat-e-Islami Hind claimed that the bill in its present form would not do justice with the women of Muslim, Dalit and other backward communities as its provisions seek to empower those who are already dominant.
National Integration Council member Navaid Hamid claimed that by passing the bill without a sub quota for Dalit and Muslim minorities, "political parties would be pushing the Muslims to a corner where they would feel that they don't have any role to play in the democracy of India".
"Integrity of the nation would be endangered because a maximum of two or three community members would be able to reach Lok Sabha," said Hamid, who is general secretary of the Movement for Empowerment of Muslim Indians.
Alam urged all political parties to play a constructive and pro-active role in providing justice to the marginalised communities, rising above individual and group interests."The women reservation bill should get necessary amendments to have a quota within quota for Muslim, other minorities and Dalit women," he said.