Womens Reservation Bill: Seeking Muslim Representation sign now

Mr. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minster of India
Prime Minster's Office, South Block
New Delhi, India

Ms. Sonia Gandhi
Chairperson UPA
10, Janpath, New Delhi, India

Honorable Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Ms Sonia Gandhi:

Association of Muslim Professionals(AMP), a not for profit, non-political and non-sectarian organization, endeavours to promote social welfare, community spirit, and economic prosperity through education and knowledge augmentation, in the society. AMP had taken the initiative to provide an unbiased platform, where people were invited to come and share their opinion on the Womens Reservation Bill, which was recently passed in the Rajya Sabha, and will be introduced to the Lok Sabha, very soon. AMP had conducted discussions and debates on this Bill at various places in Mumbai, and other cities across the country, and based on conclusions reached, and feedback from various luminaries, intellectuals, and the general masses AMP presents its stand as follows:

1. The proposed legislation to reserve 33\% percent seats in Parliament, and State Legislatures for women which was first introduced in the Lok Sabha on September 12, 1996 would only help women of the elitist groups to gain seats, therefore causing further discrimination and under-representation of the poor, and backward classes.

2. Reservations for Dalit seats have been made specifically in areas where Muslims are in substantial numbers, often 50\% or more. So no Muslim can get elected from those constituencies, as Dalit Muslims have not been granted the Dalit status, in spite of Ranganath Mishra Commission having recommended it, firmly. AMPs apprehension is that with womens reservation, the total number of such reserved seats will further mitigate the chances for Muslims to get elected. Hence scrapping of the 1950 Presidential Order so that dalit Muslims can stand from the reserved SC constituencies thereby increasing their political representation.

3. Despite having a population of more than 13.4 per cent, Muslims have only 5.52\% representation in the Parliament. Currently there are 29 Muslim MPs in the country in the 15th Lok Sabha which includes only three Muslim women MPs (approx 5\%). If 33 \% reservation for women is added to the existing 22.5 \% for scheduled castes and tribes, more than 50 per cent of seats in Parliament would be reserved. This will result in drastic reduction of the already ridiculously low representation of the Minorities, especially Muslims in the Parliament.

4. The Sachhar Committee Report, and recently the Ranganath Mishra Commission have elaborated upon the poor socio-economic condition of Muslims in the country. As per the Sachhar Committee recommendations Muslims of the country need pro-active support from the government for upliftment. The government needs to re-analyse the Womens Reservation Bill, and make necessary amendments, forma a sub-quota for OBC's (including Muslim OBC's) within the proposed 33\% reservation for women.

5. AMP is not opposed to women's reservation, but the case of Muslims, and other religious minorities should not be overlooked. There should be reservation within reservation for women from the Muslim and other minority groups. The bill in its current form is a mockery of the pursuit of societal equality that the great founding fathers of our nation had envisaged, as it will only benefit the already dominant classes of the society.

6. Womens Reservation Bill was a big hope for Muslim women whose presence is almost negligible in the Indian political system. Those hopes have been dashed, because if the Womens Reservation Bill in its current form becomes a law, there are fair chances that the number of Muslims may go down.

7. This Bill exposes the negligent and callous attitude of the major parties towards Muslims, the biggest minority group of the country. These parties make tall claims about wishing the involvement of all religious sections of the country in politics, but when it comes to the reservation of Muslims, they backtrack. This attitude of the political parties should change if there has to be any palpable improvement in the development index of the Muslims, and other marginalized communities.

Taking the above points into context, we, the undersigned, strongly oppose the existing Womens Reservation Bill in its current form. We appeal to the political leadership of this country to take cognisance of the above points and facilitate the representation of Minorities, especially Muslims in the Womens Reservation Bill, and not overlook the interests of the marginalised sections of the society.

Respectfully yours,

Aamir Idrisi, President, Association of Muslim Professionals, Mumbai

Mohd Shahanshah Ansari, Executive Council Member, Association of Muslim Professionals, Bangalore

Sarfaraz Arzu, Editor, Hindustan Urdu Daily Mumbai

Kashif-ul-Huda, Editor, twoCircles.net Delhi

Prof. Ram Puniyani, Writer/Activist Mumbai

Farid Khan, GS, Qaumi Majlise Shura Mumbai

Maulana Burhanuddin Qasmi, Editor, Eastern Crescent Mumbai

Advocate Ghazala Zubair Khan, Advocate high Court, Mumbai Mumbai

Nisar Tamboli Presidnet, Minoriy Welfare Organization Dhule

Dr. M. A Basheer, Social Worker and Educationalist Nanded

Aarif Shaikh, President, Center for Peace and Harmony, Varanasi Varanasi

Rais Shaikh, CEO, Beacon Trade Mumbai

Abdul Rehman Milli President, Milli Council Mumbai

Irfan Aleemi President, Aleemi Movement of India Mumbai

Mohammad Zaigham Khan President Aligarh Muslim University Old Boys Association Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Dr. Javed Jamil Chief Editor, Islam, Muslims and The World Saharanpur UP

Mahtab Alam Civil Rights' Activist & Journalist Delhi

Sikandar Azam Asst. Editor, Radiance Viewsweekly New Delhi

Ms. Shadab Siddiqui President, WAVES Foundation (Womens Awareness for Values and Establishment of Success) Mumbai

Also Endorsed by:

Mubeen Qureshi, President, Sahyog Foundation Mumbai

M Mehmood Daryabadi, General Secretary, Ulema Council Mumbai

M A Khalid, GS, Milli Council Mumbai

Abdul Hafiz Lakhani, Senior Journalist, Sampurna Samachar sewa Ahmedabad, Gujarat
Pradip Panchpinde, Yuva India Mumbai

Mustaqeem Makki, Editor, Huda Times Mumbai

Salim Alware, Social Worker, Mumbai Mumbai

Zubair Azmi, Director, Urdu Markaz Mumbai

Advocate Hussain Ansari, Advocate High Court, Mumbai

Advocate Najeeb, Advocate High Court, Mumbai Mumbai

SM Malik, Social Activist Mumbai

Mushir Ansari, President All Backward Classes Organization Mumbai

Mufti Inamullah Alig, Social Worker, Mumbai Mumbai

M Qamar Raza Ashrafi, GS, All India Aimma Masajid Council Mumbai

Moulana Anees Ashrafi, Social Worker, Mumbai Mumbai

Farid Batatawala, Social Worker, Mumbai Mumbai

M Zakir Qasmi, Social Worker, Mumbai Mumbai

M Shoeb Koti, Social Worker, Mumbai Mumbai

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Muriel WilkinsBy:
International PolicyIn:
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Prime Minister of India and UPA Chairperson


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