The Commission of Inquiry constituted to study the socioeconomic and educational status of Muslims in Telangana state has recommended the TS government inclusion of certain Muslim communities like Mehtar in the Scheduled Castes (SCs) list so that they can be given reservations under the SC status.
The panel also recommended increase in the reservation percentage to 12 percent or a minimum of 9 per cent, based on the community’s social and educational backwardness and deprivation.
The panel, headed by retired IAS officer G. Sudheer, in its over 300 page report, said that the data gathered by it shows that among the criteria the Indra Sawhney case looks at, Muslims are below the state average. Some of the community members are socially and educationally backward and severely deprived, the report said.
“Therefore, the government may provide reservation to them,” the report said.
The commission noted that over 82 per cent of the Muslim population was already categorised as backward.
Recommending the increase in reservation percentage, the panel said that the government can do this quickly as about four-fifth of the Muslim population have already have been placed in the BC-A, BC-B and BC-E categories.
The commission recommended a suitable legislation be passed duly obtaining legal opinion as the present provision of four percent reservation is being continued with an interim order of the Supreme Court.
The panel advised the government to take steps to sensitise the police on the need to avoid indiscriminate arrests of Muslim youths on suspicion of being involved in terrorism and other crimes.
The commission felt that the government should take positive steps and confidence building measures to maintain communal harmony in the state, particularly in Hyderabad.
It opined that the criteria laid down in the Indra Sawhney case to determine backwardness and recommend reservations 24 years ago needed to be reviewed given the development and growth of the Indian economy. It has recommended for appointment of an expert group to study or revise those criteria for assessing the backwardness of a community.
The panel told the government that TS should be the first state to appoint an “Equal Opportunity Commission” to oversee recruitment and training and other developmental programmes so that all communities in the state have equal opportunities in all fields, both in the private and the public sector.
The ‘Equal Opportunity Commission’ should be an independent body that would look into any possibility of bias or prejudice against any group, be it social, religious, caste, linguistic or any other.
It recommended that the EOC cover all levels of education, employment, housing, healthcare and access to development schemes; all other issues and provide remedies. This will address the feeling that exists of being discriminated in the credit, housing and the education markets.
The report noted that Urdu medium schools are badly staffed and the quality of teaching is poor. Students in Urdu schools should be given the option of learning English as a language.
It told the government steps can be taken quickly to fill all vacancies of Urdu language teachers and take steps to appoint Urdu teachers where posts are lying vacant on account of the inability to find teachers among the SC/ST category.
These posts should then be filled through increasing numbers among teachers in other subjects. The Commission recommended recognising Madarsas as schools by inducting them into the mainstream school systems without interference in their core syllabi. The Commission recommended setting up a Madarsa Board and option provided to Madarsa to join it.
Muslims behind in every sphere
The Commission of Inquiry found that Muslim community has been left behind in overall development and its share in government services has dwindled. TS is no exception to this rule, it said. The share of Muslims in administrative state services like IAS, IPS and IFS is negligible.
The share of Muslim employees in the state is only about 7.36 per cent of the total employees while the share of Muslims in total population in the state in 12.68 per cent; as such it can be said that Muslim in the state are underrepresented in government services.
The Commission found that underrepresentation of Muslims is acute in departments of administrative services, Home, education and welfare where there are large numbers of employees or the departments which are strategic in nature. These four sectors/departments are crucial for inclusive development and have relatively higher underrepresentation of Muslims.
Muslims in government employment are mostly last cadre employees and very few are gazetted officers. The state need to make concerted efforts to fill the gap through recruitments from Muslim community and that can be effectively done by providing a reasonable share in overall reservations in government services to Muslims in the state, the commission recommended.
The Commission found that the health of Muslims, especially women, is directly linked to poverty and the absence of basic services like clean drinking water and sanitation — leading to malnutrition, anaemia, a variety of other diseases and poor life expectancy.
Courtesy: Deccan Chronicle
The complete report is available Here