By Pramod Kumar
By providing 5 per cent reservation to Muslims, the Congress government of Andhra Pradesh, headed by Chief Minister Dr Y.S. Rajashekar Reddy, did what even the British government could not do during its rule in the country. Violating the Supreme Court'scap on reservation at 50 per cent, the state Congress government, in a clear move to appease the Muslims, issued an order late on July 12 night providing 5 per cent reservation to Muslims in educational institutions and government jobs with immediate effect. The government is also going to soon introduce a Bill in the Assembly to give statutory backing to the quota.
With the new order, the community has been included in the E category under the Backward Classes. The decision was taken on the so-called recommendations of the Commissionerate of Minorities Welfare that had reportedly studied the socio-economic conditions of Muslims, who constitute around 11 per cent of the state'spopulation.
The Bharatiya Janata Party opposed the order when Minorities Welfare Minister Fareeduddin presented it in the Assembly on July 13. The BJP is opposed to any move to provide reservation on the basis of religion. On the other hand, the Congress said that it had implemented one of its election promises by issuing the order.
The TDP, which had promised 3 per cent reservation to Muslims, dubbed the move as an act of deception. ?How will you overcome the legal hurdles?? asked TDP deputy leader, T. Devender Goud. With this order, reservations in Andhra Pradesh have touched 52 per cent, which is a clear violation of the Supreme Court order, he added.
Commenting on the move, RSS spokesperson, Ram Madhav termed it as ?a move to encourage appeasement politics, which will have far-reaching consequences.? He said reservation on the basis of religion was against the basic spirit of the Constitution and by exceeding reservation to more than 50 per cent, the state government had violated the Supreme Court'sdirectives. He feared that there was another move to provide reservation to Dalit Christians also in the state. Shri Madhav pointed out that even the British government in 1936 had declined the demand to provide reservation to Christians on the basis of religion. Such activities will encourage fissiparous tendencies in the country, the RSS spokesperson added.