Rajasthan to review OBC reservation of 14 Muslim communities, says minister - Hindustan Times

Rajasthan to review OBC reservation of 14 Muslim communities, says minister

May 25, 2024 05:00 PM IST

Rajasthan social justice and empowerment minister Avinash Gehlot said Congress governments granted OBC reservations to those 14 Muslim communities based on their appeasement politics

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Rajasthan government will soon review the reservation given to 14 Muslim communities under the Other Backward Caste (OBC) category, the state’s social justice and empowerment minister Avinash Gehlot said on Saturday.

Rajasthan social justice and empowerment minister Avinash Gehlot. (File Photo)
Rajasthan social justice and empowerment minister Avinash Gehlot. (File Photo)

“The Congress government granted those reservations to those 14 Muslim communities under the OBC category between 1997 and 2013 based on their appeasement politics. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, in his constitution, said that nobody can grant a reservation to a particular community based on their religion. We have all those circulars and therefore we will review it,” said Gehlot while speaking to the reporters in Jaipur.

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The BJP had been making it a poll issue during the ongoing general elections against the opposition stating that “they provided reservation to the Muslims unlawfully by scrapping the deserving portion of the Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), and other OBCs.”

On Wednesday, the Calcutta high court cancelled the OBC certificates of 77 communities in West Bengal- of which 75 were Muslim communities.

Citing illegitimacy in the classification process of those communities under the OBC category by the West Bengal government, the court said: “Identification of the classes in the aid community as OBCs for electoral gains would leave them at the mercy of the political establishment concerned and may defeat and deny other rights. Such reservation is, therefore, also an affront to Democracy and the Constitution of India as a whole.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during a poll rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Dwarka on the same day, called the Calcutta HC verdict a “tight slap” to the chief minister Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) government in West Bengal.

“Just today, the Calcutta high court has given a big slap to this INDIA alliance. The court has cancelled all OBC certificates issued since 2010. Why? Because the West Bengal government issued unwarranted OBC certificates to Muslims just because of the vote bank. They have crossed every limit in their obsession with appeasement,” he said.

Union home minister Amit Shah on Thursday said, “The Banerjee-led government in West Bengal granted OBC reservation to around 118 Muslim communities without following any proper process and conducting a proper survey to identify the backward classes. People went to the court and taking cognizance of the matter, the high court had scrapped those certificates issued between 2010 and 2024. I welcome the verdict. She (CM Banerjee) wants to give reservation to the Muslims instead of the deserving OBCs only to keep her vote bank intact.”

Rajasthan CM Bhajan Lal Sharma on Thursday said, “The verdict had put an end to Banerjee’s appeasement politics as our Constitution doesn’t permit such religion-based reservation.”

Gehlot on Thursday claimed the department received many complaints over such “religion-based reservation” from the public in the last few months. “It’s high time to review those complaints. A high-level committee will be formed to verify them,” he said.

Rajasthan provides 64% reservation- of which 21% is granted for OBCs, 16% for Scheduled Castes (SC) categories, 12% for Scheduled Tribe (ST) categories, 10% for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) and 5% for Most Backward Classes (MBC).

According to the website of the Rajasthan social justice and empowerment department (SJED) website, a total of 82 communities falls under the OBC category in Rajasthan- of which around 29 are Muslim communities.

However, reacting to Gehlot’s statement, Congress spokesperson Swarnim Chaturvedi said, “This is nothing but a politically motivated decision. It was only the BJP government that approved this reservation between 1997 and 2013 to those Muslim communities under OBC. Later, our government has also followed it as per the recommendations of the Mandal Commission report 1990.”

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