"The bill was sent to the Standing Committee which gave its recommendations. We incorporated them and sent it to the home ministry. But they were not happy with it. They came up with a bill of their own but this time, we rejected it. "
New Delhi, May 6 - Minority Affairs Minister K.Rahman Khan Tuesday backed giving reservation to Muslims, saying the community suffers from lack of education and scant represenation in government services.

Speaking to journalists at the Indian Women's Press Corps, Khan said that all the commissions formed to study the socio-economic conditions of Muslims have concluded that their level of education remains lower than the scheduled caste/scheduled tribes.

Their representation in government services, especially at the higher level, remains very low in proprotion to their share in the total population. If there is no reservation, how are you going to bridge that gap? he said, contending that unless some affirmative action is taken, the community's socio-economic condition will not improve.

Recouting his own experience as the head of a minority commission in Karnataka, his home state, Khan said that he carried out a census of one lakh people belonging to the minority communities.

The census showed that 93 percent of the children from these communities were dropping out from school in the seventh standard, he said.

Subsequently, the then Karnataka government headed by Veerappa Moily decided to carve out four percent reservation from the backward quota for the Muslims of the state, he said.

The Karnataka model has been working for the last 20 years. It has been upheld by the courts, averred Khan.

He pointed out that Dalits who have converted to Sikhism enjoy SC status. During V.P.Singh's government, Dalits who converted to Buddhism also enjoy the same. This makes the Christians and Muslims of the country question why they are being discriminated against, the minister said.

Khan said that amending article 341 of the constitution, which bars reservation on religious line, was on the agenda of his ministry, if voted back to power.

On the Communal Violence bill, which he also termed to be on the agenda of his ministry, he said that it could not be passed during the tenure of the United Progressive Alliance-2 government as the home ministry was opposed to it.

The bill was sent to the Standing Committee which gave its recommendations. We incorporated them and sent it to the home ministry. But they were not happy with it. They came up with a bill of their own but this time, we rejected it.

Finally, a new bill was brought and it was approved by the cabinet. But when it was introduced in parliament, opposition parties said you can not interfere in subjects like law and order which are under the state governments, he said.


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