Leaders of the coordination committee of Muslim organisations, at a press conference held at Delhi on Tuesday, rejected the proposal to have a sub-quota of 3 per cent for them, to be carved out of the 27 per cent reservation earmarked for the Other Backward Classes.
"We have asked for time from Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh," they said.
"We have written letters to the Muslim leaders and are now waiting for their reactions. Next course of action would be decided after we have heard from them," they added.
The Muslim leaders made it clear that they would be holding talks with the leaders of the Bhartiya Janata Party and other political outfits, particularly Mulyam Singh's Samajvadi Party, to elicit their support.
"We demand that the recommendations of Justice Ranganath Mishra should be implemented in full. Muslim community will not accept a sub-quota being carved out of the quota earmarked for the OBC," Dr S Q R Ilyas, coordinator of the committee, told rediff.com after the press conference.
"My personal view is that after the Sachar Committee finding, the entire Muslim community, minus the creamy layer, deserves reservation on the basis of article 15(4) and 16(4) of the Constitution. The creamy layer can be determined on the basis of economic conditions. If social backwardness is to be considered the basis for reservation, then the Muslim sections, whose names appeared in the Mandal lists in different states, can be considered. But these are the matters of details. These can be worked out once the government is ready for 10 per cent reservation for Muslims," said Dr Ilyas.
"Jutice Rajinder Sachar and Justice Ranganath Mishra have reached the conclusion that the Muslim community, barring those who have the money and are referred to as the 'creamy layer,' is almost as backward as the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, and are more backward than non-Muslim OBCs," the leaders claimed.
Mohammad Aziz, Rajya Sabha MP, said that this was a good move.
"We do not want fragmentation of the Muslim community on the lines the Hindu community did. I am ready to support the backward Muslim community, barring some of us who fall in the category of 'creamy layer.' Justice Ranganath Commission has recommended that 10 per cent quota should be earmarked exclusively for the Muslims. I see nothing wrong in raising this kind of demand," Aziz said.
But Shamin Faizi, Communist Party of India MP, differed with Mohammad Aziz and said that those who are picking up such causes are the ones who are looking for religion-based reservations.
"They forget that even amongst the Muslims there are sub-castes. They would do better by working for the betterment of the Muslims as a whole and not get bogged down in quota controversy, especially the reservation of 27 per cent for the OBCs," Faizi said.