Womens Reservation Bill: Seeking Muslim Representation sign now

Smt. Pratibha Patil
The President of India
Rashtrapati Bhavan
New Delhi - 110 004, India

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

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

CC: All Chief Ministers and MPs of Indian States

Respected Sir/Madam:

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 Women's 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. AMP's apprehension is that with women's 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 Women's 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. Women's 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 Women's 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 Women's 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 Women's Reservation Bill, and not overlook the interests of the marginalised sections of the society.

Respectfully yours,

Mr. Aamir Idrisi,
President, Association of Muslim Professionals, Mumbai.

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

Mr. Sarfaraz Arzu,
Editor, Hindustan Urdu Daily, Mumbai

Mr. Kashif-ul-Huda,
Editor, TwoCircles.net, Delhi.

Prof. Ram Puniyani,
Writer and Activist, Mumbai.

Mr. Farid Khan,
General Secretary, Qaumi Majlise Shura, Mumbai.

Maulana Burhanuddin Qasmi,
Editor, Eastern Crescent, Mumbai.

Adv. Ghazala Zubair Khan,
Advocate, High Court, Mumbai.

Mr. Nisar Tamboli,
Presidnet, Minoriy Welfare Organization, Dhule.

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

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

Mr. Rais Shaikh,
CEO, Beacon Trade, Mumbai.

Mr. Abdul Rehman Milli,
President, Milli Council, Mumbai.

Mr. Irfan Aleemi,
President, Aleemi Movement of India, Mumbai.

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

Mr. Syed Sikandar,
Idea Vendor,
Matchstick Vendors, Chennai

Mr. Aariz Mohammed,
Center for Social Justice, Hyderabad.

Also Endorsed by:

Mr. Zafar Iqbal (Ph.D.),
Scientist and Activist for Human Rights, USA.

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

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

Mr. Mahtab Alam,
Civil Rights' Activist & Journalist, Delhi.

Mr. Sikandar Azam,
Asst. Editor, Radiance Viewsweekly, New Delhi.

Mr. Mubeen Qureshi,
President, Sahyog Foundation, Mumbai.

Mr. Pradeep Deshpande,
Writer And Social Activist, Mumbai.

Moulana Mehmood Daryabadi,
General Secretary, Ulema Council, Mumbai.

Mr. M A Khalid,
GS, Milli Council, Mumbai.

Mr. Abdul Hafiz Lakhani,
Senior Journalist, Sampurna Samachar sewa, Ahmedabad.

Mr. Pradip Panchpinde,
Yuva India, Mumbai.

Moulana Qamar Raza Ashrafi,
GS, All India Aimma Masajid Council, Mumbai.

Moulana Shoeb Koti,
Social Worker, Mumbai.

Mr. Mustaqeem Makki,
Editor, Huda Times, Mumbai.

Mr. Salim Alware,
Social Worker, Mumbai.

Mr. Zubair Azmi,
Director, Urdu Markaz, Mumbai.

Adv. Hussain Ansari,
Advocate High Court, Mumbai.

Adv. Najeeb,
Advocate High Court, Mumbai.

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