Union Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptullah has spoken out against reservation on the basis of religion.
Union Minister for Minority Affairs Najma Heptullah came under fire from leaders of the minority community, whom she met in Mumbai on Saturday. The community is disappointed after being denied reservation by the BJP-led state government.
Ms Heptullah was in Mumbai to outline the activities of the National Minority Development and Financial Corporation (NMDFC) and the Maulana Azad National Academy for Skills (MANAS) which are being expanded across the country. Under the MANAS initiative the government targets to provide jobs to 10,000 youth by 31st March, 2015.
But during the meeting the attention shifted to reservations for Muslims and Marathas. The issue had come up before the Bombay High Court on November 14, when the Court had stayed the 16 percent reservation for Marathas saying it would be unconstitutional, while allowing the five percent reservation for Muslims. The Maharashtra government had moved the Suppreme Court against this ruling, but it has refused to entertain the petition. The issue is now set to come up again before the Bombay High Court on January 5.
While the state government had tabled the Maratha Reservation Bill in the state Assembly last month, it left out the quota for Muslims stating that it was seeking legal advice in the matter. Marathas and Muslims were promised reservation by the Congress-NCP government just before the Assembly elections last year, in a bid to draw votes.
"If the Congress was willing to give the reservation, they would have done it and would not wait for 10 years. They made the announcement two months before the elections, when they knew that they were going to lose. When they realized the fact that they were going to lose then they played this new tactic, but till when Muslims are going to believe them like fools?" said Ms Heptullah to the gathering.
She went on to add, "This government is not making promises, it's doing the work. It's making the Muslims capable enough to do something for themselves and not depend on this reservation. And reservation on the basis of religion is totally wrong and it should not happen."
But angry leaders from the minority community countered the Minister, saying, "We did not know the government would deprive us like this. Why are giving everyone else quotas and denying us our share? Please be fair."
The Minister refused to take questions on the controversial 'ghar wapasi' campaign saying it had nothing to do with her Ministry.