Maharashtra Muslims seek 20 pc quota in jobs

Hundreds of Muslims from across Maharashtra, carrying Tricolour, are holiding a padyatra from Malegaon to Mumbai's historic Azad Maidan to seek 20 per cent reservation for country's largest minority group in government jobs and public sector units.

The participants, who started the 300-km-long march two days ago, braving hot winds, reached the borders of Nashik district late on Sunday evening, and are expected to reach Mumbai later this week.

The padyatra, organised under the banner of the Muslim Reservation Federation (MRF), intends to pass through towns like Khandesh, Chandanwad, Wadali Bhoi, Pimpalgaon Baswant, Ozar, Nashik, Wadiwarhe, Ghoti, Igatpuri, Kasara, Shahapur and Bhiwandi on its way to Mumbai.

Social activist Aleem Faizi from Malegaon told Deccan Herald that the Muslims from Pune, Nanded, Yeole, Dhule, Satna and other towns were participating in the padyatra.

Plans for the foot march were initiated by the MRF six months ago, with the primary demand for 20 per cent reservation for the Muslims in the country in government jons and public sector units.

MRF founder and convener Asif Shaikh Rasheed, who is leading the padyatra, said: The Sachar Committee Report had recommended reservation as one of the remedies for the backwardness of our community. However, five years have passed and the scenario on the ground has gone from bad to worse.

“The only way to empower the Muslims – one of the most backward and alienated communities in the country – lies in providing reservation in government jobs and other public sector units. We want the government to give 20 per cent reservation to the Muslims before 2014.”

Talking to media at Malegaon, Jamiat Ulama Maharashtra president Maulana Hafiz Nadeem Siddiqui, who hails from Nanded, warned of intensification of the agitation in due course “if the state government turns a blind eye to our demands”.

Siddiqui pointed out that it was strange that Muslims have already got the desired reservation in Andhra Pradesh, “but Maharashtra seems to be ruled by the Rashtryia Swayamsewak Sangh”.

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