It is a matter of surprise, anguish and concern that the Supreme Court has upheld the validity of the controversial Andhra Pradesh decision to introduce a four per cent reservation for Muslims. With this it has added a dark and painful chapter in the politics of vote bank that is threatening to tear apart the secular fabric of the country. It has perhaps unwittingly extended a big push forward to the divisive UPA politics which is blindly pursuing an agenda of dividing the country on religious basis with the ulterior intent of inciting conversion. This it wants to do by subverting the Hindu majority through cynically encouraging religious minorities to assert for more rights and privileges which are systematically denied to the Hindu majority.
Look at the immediate fallout. The Union Rural Development Minister CP Joshi within hours of the apex court decision declared that he would try to include all minorities automatically in the BPL (Below Poverty Line) category. Two days later the Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said he was planning to declare more districts minority to widen the special benefits to more areas by diluting the criteria for declaring a district minority. Already 90 districts were declared minority for special attention and development. The criteria then was that the district should have a 25 per cent or more minority population. The diluted criteria will be that the population of minority in a district has to be 15 per cent of the total population. If this is not an intended incentive for the minority to increase its population multiplying its number by all means- more births, migration, conversion etc-what else is it? The state is promoting a demographic invasion and a subversion of the profile of the country.
Is it not a deliberate ploy to instigate division in the society? The reservation policy being designed by the central government is meant to foment all such nefarious tendencies and unfortunately the Supreme Court decision has given legal sanctity to this sinister agenda, which it so far lacked. It is not clear as to what was the hurry before the court. The court had left the petition against the Andhra reservation to be decided by a constitution bench even as it upheld the reservation ordinance of the state government. What was the urgency before the apex court to give a green signal to a purely political measure which has attracted country-wide protests and denunciation?
The haste to give an interim order warrants an explanation. Because the bench comprising Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan, Justice JM Panchal and Justice BS Chauhan has referred the main question of reservation on religious basis to a constitution bench since it involves important constitutional issues. Then what prompted it to okay the Andhra proposal? There is a contradiction.
With clear UPA strategy for religiously fragmenting the country in place, the court’s decision will open up a disastrous consequence of communal politics like introducing the dangerous Ranganath Misra Commission scheme that seeks to give 15 per cent reservation in jobs and education and all other avenues of social and economic life. This will either infringe on the rights of the SCs, STs and OBCs or make a mockery of all established norms of merit which have fixed the reservation quota at a 50 per cent limit. By this the court has also legitimised caste system and caste discrimination in both Islam and Christianity though both the proselytising religions claim that they treat the laity as equal and that they are seeking conversion to their fold because of their emancipating appeal.
The Andhra reservation policy was mired in legal tangle for over five years because of its retrograde nature. It was violative of all constitutional provisions according to the Andhra High Court. The full bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court had in February, 2010 struck down the provision terming it unconstitutional and the data in support of the reservation as inaccurate and manipulated. The Andhra government’s reservation policy was formulated basically to kick up a legal battle and make political capital. Mainly it went against all civilised process and procedures in practice in the country. Hence the High Court Chief Justice AR Dave speaking for himself and Justice A Gopala Reddy, Justice V Eswaraiah and Justice G Raghuram faulted the enactment and had stated while striking it down that it was religion-specific and potentially encouraged conversions and was thus unsustainable. The bench also found fault with the commission which identified the castes in the Muslim community for reservation benefit for its excessive reliance on the data collected by the Anthropological Survey of India. The data, the court had ruled, was meant for determining the profile of the Indian population and not for deciding on affirmative action for Muslims.
The apex court in its wisdom has overturned the High Court order. This will definitely encourage the divisive politics of minorityism. Soon a situation will arise when the majority Hindus will be forced to ask for reservation on the basis of their demographic presence. And there will be only religions and their stake-holders, no Indians left in the country. Perhaps that is what the protagonists of religious reservation are driving the country to. If the country has to survive and if there is any enlightened political opinion in the country, it should raise its voice against this free fall of national conscience.