Govt steers clear of SP's demand on proportionate reservation for Muslims

The government today steered clear of SP's demand for proportionate reservation to Muslims but expressed the hope that its decision to provide 4.5 per cent quota to minorities will see the light of the day despite Andhra Pradesh High Courts' rejection.

"What can I say if their party says something. A demand can be made for anything...The promise of Congress made in its election manifesto (to provide reservation to backward Muslims) is our first priority....We never talked about proportonate reservation. We never made any such promise,"

Minority Affairs Minister K Rahman Khan told reporters here.

He was responding to questions on Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Yadav's demand in Rajya Sabha that Muslims should be given reservation in proportion to their population through an amendment in the Constitution.

Khan said that he wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last month drawing his attention towards the apprehensions among the minorities over terror cases and urging him to ensure speedier trial of the cases.

Regarding apprehensions raised by minority groups about some of the provisions of the Centre's Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), Khan said that he has brought the concerns of the minorities regarding this to the notice of ministries concerned and was hopeful that they will take steps to address them.

Khan said that he is "hopeful" that the government will be able to convince the Supreme Court on the merits of its decision to carve out a 4.5 per cent sub quota for minorities out of the OBC reservation quota of 27 per cent.

The Andhra Pradesh High Court had rejected the Centre's decision on the sub quota while the Supreme Court also made observations against it.

However, Khan said, "We are not doing anything except taking all the minorities, who are already getting benefits under Mandal Commission and putting them together. It's grouping them. It is scientific way of giving it." PTI AMR

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