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Muslims & reservations: A conundrum in Telangana

MORTON GROVE, IL – SEPTEMBER 22: Muslim students at MCC Elementary School join together to pray in the school gymnasium September 22, 2006 in Morton Grove, Illinois. Saturday marks the start The Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which is celebrated with fasting and contemplation, begins September 23. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

What is the current status of Muslim reservation in Telangana?
Backward classes among Muslims now get four per cent quota in government jobs and professional courses including medicine. The current quota is subject to the final judgement of the Supreme Court.

Do all Muslims get the benefit?
No. Only educationally and socially backward sections among Muslims get the benefit. Creamy layer concept also applies. Social groups like Syeds, Pathans, Mashaik, Irani, Arab, Bohras, Khojas, Memons, Jamayat, and Navayat are excluded.

Is the quota based on religion?
Select backward groups among Muslims based on their professional trades are included. For instance: artisans, washermen, quilt makers.

Are backward classes among Muslims eligible to contest polls from seats reserved for BCs in local and civic bodies?
Yes. Muslim social groups, which are eligible for quota in professional courses and government jobs, can contest from backward class reserved wards/divisions.

What is the current legal status of the Muslim quota?
Andhra Pradesh High Court had struck down the legislation on Muslim reservations in 2004, 2008 and 2010. The High Court order was challenged in Supreme Court in 2010. The apex court stayed the High Court order. Reservation for backward classes among Muslims is now subject to final order of the Supreme Court.

What is the history of Muslim reservation in Telangana/Andhra Pradesh?
The demand first began in the 1960s. It, however, took a concrete shape in 1994 when state government issued orders (Go Ms No, 30 dated August 25, 1994) granting quota for Muslims and 14 other social groups. The government order (GO) was not implemented due to change in government. A decade later, Rajasekhar Reddy government issued orders giving five per cent quota (GO Ms No 33 dated July 12, 2004). Owing to legal hurdles, the quota was later reduced to four per cent.

Did the state government follow due procedure of law?
A BC Commission headed by Justice Dalwa Subrahmanyam was appointed and it recommended four per cent quota based on a socio-economic survey of Muslims groups by retired civil servant PS Krishnan.

What is the socio-economic status of Muslims?
A majority of Muslims are daily wage earners and mostly self-employed doing petty works for a living. According to Rajinder Sachar committee report, the condition of Muslims is worse than Dalits.

Did the quota benefit BCs among Muslims?
Every year about 20,000 students stand to benefit.

What are the new promises to the community?
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) promised 12% quota in 2014 based on Tamil Nadu model. The TRS government also passed a resolution in the state assembly and sent it to the Centre for approval. Centre turned it down.

What political parties say now?
Chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao blames Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of being communal. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah says no quota based on religion. Congress promises implementation of quota.

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