32 representatives who met in Delhi have demanded action on 20 points from political groups.
New Delhi:Call it anything, visioned, mature, half-baked, or too-much-to ask, a poll agenda has been unveiled by a group of 32 Muslim representatives who met in Delhi last month under the chairmanship of Mr. Zafar Mahmood, who was a member of the Sachar Committee set up by the Prime Minister of India and currently heads the Zakat Foundation of India.
The well-thought out 20-point agenda, which may not resonate with all sections of the community and in all regions, attempts at seeking firm assurances from the political groups vis-à-vis longstanding grievances of the Muslim community. The group was stirred into action following riots in Muzaffarnagar which witnessed ghastly brutalities besides around 100 deaths and total failure of law and order machinery in a state ruled by Samajwadi Party which has been at the helm for nearly two years. Still worse, for the first time, the riots witnessed displacement of nearly a lakh of Muslims together with a bid to ghettoize the community.
The representatives while issuing the charter of demands, clarified that the seekers of the electoral support from the community would have to pledge their compliance for the demand in writing on their official letterhead, state the same in their manifesto and reiterate them in public meetings.
The meeting has also specified the original source of demand (mainly from Sachar Committee or Ranganath Mishra Commission, JPC Waqf etc) and the Ministry from which the action must be seen to be initiated.
Though a cursory glance reveals that more than two-thirds of representatives were from among the clerics, a few intellectuals and academics can also be seen among those who were invited to attend the meeting in Delhi. Sadly, there were no women among the invitees. While some of the demands such as seeking equivalence between madrassa and university degrees are irrational, the demand for interest free finance from banks will be construed as too much to ask for the present.
Here is the charter of demands:
1. Create time-bound fast track courts to try terror allegations. Merely issuing a central advisory is not sufficient. The political party ruling in the state concerned will have to immediately appoint the fast track courts. (Home Ministry)
2. Provide compensation of Rs 50 lakh to each person who is judicially acquitted of terror allegations. (Home Ministry)
3. Get passed from Parliament fast, the Prevention of Targeted Communal Violence Bill. (Home Ministry)
4. From the definition of ‘Scheduled Caste’ delete the conditionality of religion. Delete para 3 from the Presidential Order 1950 through a simple parliamentary resolution.
(Mishra Commission and Sachar Committee) (Ministry of Law)
5. De-reserve constituencies with substantial Muslim influence. Immediately appoint the next Delimitation Commission with clear time-bound mandate to remove these anomalies.
(Sachar Committee) (Ministry of Law)
6. Evolve procedure to nominate Muslims in public positions of power.
(Sachar Committee)(Cabinet Secretariat and Ministry of Minority Affairs)
7. Earmark 67% for Muslims out of the Reservation to be made for all minorities – as Muslims constitute 73% of all minorities.
(Mishra Commission) (Ministry of Law)
8. Create Special Component Plan in the Budget for Muslims for skill development programmes and other economic opportunities.
(‘Promises to Keep’ by Harsh Mandar and others) (Planning Commission and Ministry of Finance)
9. Enhance Outlay for 15-Point Programme to 19% of total plan allocation.
(‘Promises to Keep’ by Harsh Mandar and others) (Minority Affairs Ministry, Planning Commission and Finance Ministry)
10. Make the village (in rural area) and ward (in urban area) [and not the district or block] as units of planning for infrastructure schemes (including MSDP) and their implementation.
(‘Promises to Keep’ by Harsh Mandar and others) (Planning Commission)
11. For special recruitment of 1,400 additional IPS officers, scrap the Limited Competitive Examination as it preempts Muslim intake.
(Ministries of Personnel and Home)
12. Establish Indian Waqf Service on the pattern of several states where senior officers are directly recruited, by state law, to manage Hindu temples and endowments.
(Sachar Committee) (Ministries of Personnel and Minority Affairs)
13. (a) Include the following Sachar + JPC recommendations of vital significance (which have not been incorporated in Waqf Act 2013) in the Waqf Rules and/or departmental instructions.
(i) The Secretary of the Central Waqf Council shall not be of official rank lower than Joint Secretary to the Government of India.
(ii) No Waqf property shall be leased at less than the currently prevalent fair market rate of rent.
(iii) No Waqf lease proposal shall be required to be submitted to the state government before issuing the lease order by the State Waqf Board.
(Sachar Committee Report and JPC on Waqfs ) Ministry of Minority Affairs
13 (b) Act on former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s letter no. 71-PMO/76 dated March 26, 1976 addressed to the chief ministers (reproduced in Sachar Committee Report on page 223). Vacate Waqf properties occupied by the Governments in the centre and states and restore these to the State Waqf Boards.
(Sachar Committee and JPC on Waqfs) (PMO and Ministry of Minority Affairs)
14 (a) Publicize Madrasa Scheme (SPQEM) in Urdu and other languages. The amount of Rs. 50 lakh granted every year for publicity, has not been adequately utilized. (Ministry of HRD)
14 (b) Establish equivalence between Madrasa and other education. Translate into Urdu, Hindi and regional languages the DOPT Order dated February 23, 2010 referred to, for this purpose, by the Ministry of HRD on its website and publish the translated versions in the newspapers published in these languages from the states.
(Sachar Committee Report) (Ministry of HRD) [UGC + NIOS] 15. Within one year of taking oath, ensure the conferment of ‘Minority Status’ on the
Aligarh Muslim University founded by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. Take similar action for other institutions founded by Muslims and other minorities.
(Ministry of HRD)
16 Give option for interest-free finance in the banking sector. Implement the recommendations of Raghuram Rajan Committee on financial sector reforms of the Planning Commission. (Planning Commission)
17. Central Urdu Teachers Scheme: Follow up and get resolved non-implementation in states. (Ministry of HRD)
18. Establish Equal Opportunity Commission. (Modalities were finalized by Expert Committee 4 years ago)
(Sachar Committee Report) (Ministry of Minority Affairs)
19. Institute the Schemes for Incentives based on Diversity Index. (Modalities were finalized by Expert Committee four years ago)
(Sachar Committee Report) (Ministry of Minority Affairs)
20 (a). Involve Muslim beneficiary groups in planning and oversight of
projects. (Cabinet Secretariat and Ministry of Minority Affairs)
20 (b). Concentrate on benefiting the whole Muslim community, not only a few individuals.
Representatives who attended the meeting: Dr. Syed Zafar Mahmood, President, Zakat Foundation of India, Delhi; Mufti Dr. Md. Aadil Jamal; Maulana Ikramul Haq Qasmi, chairman Quran Academy, Prof. Abdul Huq, professor emeritus, Delhi University; Maulana Habeebullah, Jama Masjid Chhatarpur; S. M. Shakil, Israr Ahmed; Qiamuddin, Mumtaz Najmi, Irfan Beg; Kamal Akhtar; Mufti Fuzailur Rahman Usmani, Malerkotla, Punjab; Maulana Abutalib Rehmani, president, Indian Ulema Council, Kolkata; Aasdil Muhammad and Maulana Mud. Aamir Khan, Imam, Masjid e Quba, Hyderabad; Abdul Qaiyum Akhtar, advocate, Jaipur; Dr. Azeedummdin and Mufti Md. Ashfaq Abdul Qadir, Nagpur; Md Nadeem, Bhopal; Maulana Rashid Bastavi, Deoband, Maulana Shams Tabrez, Imam Masjid Fazeelatut Nisa, Chennai; K. M. Siddheq and Maulana Maqsood Imran, peshimam, Jama Masjid City, Bangalore; Prof. Masroor Ahmed, Chairman, Rural Institute, Maulana Abu Nasr, both from Patna; Maulana Syed Anwar Saavi, chairman, Majlis Islahul Muslimeen, Bhubaneswar; Maulana Mumtaz Qasimi, Nazakat Ali Hashmir and Muhamad Afzal Khan, Shimla; Maulana Mahmood Qasimi, Market Masjid, Dimapur, Assam; Qari Muhammad Ali, Jama Masjid Srinagar, Arshad Rasool, from Jammu and Kashmir; Prof. Ibrahim K, Maulana Sabir Navees, Kerala; Dr. Ismail Patel, Anjuman Islahul Muslimeen, Gujarat; Mualana Md. Ramzan, Jama Masjid, Faridabad, and Choudhury Tahir Hussain Advocate, from Haryana.