Thursday, July 7th, 2011
Kozhikkode: The National Executive Council of Popular Front of India held at Calicut in Kerala decided to intensify mass agitations for quota reservations for Muslims and other religious minorities as recommended by Justice Ranganath Misra Commission.
The report which earmarked 15% of central government jobs and admissions in educational institutions, out of which 10% exclusively for Muslim community, was tabled in the parliament in December 2009. But the UPA government has not yet initiated any steps for its implementation. Other political parties also are not showing any interest in the issue of Muslim reservation. The fact that the parliament has not even witnessed a serious discussion about the issue illustrates the apathy of mainstream political parties. On the other hand it is a welcome sign that, following the campaigns spearheaded by Popular Front and few other organisations, the backward minorities are now more aware of their right. On the state government level, the initiatives seen in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal are still half way. Unfortunately, a full-fledged and nationwide movement for Muslim reservation has not yet emerged, in spite of some isolated efforts towards that end. It is in this context that the NEC of Popular Front has decided to take the lead in mobilising a movement for Muslim reservation in consultation and cooperation with all sections of the community and society.
The meeting urged to make thorough changes in the new draft of the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2011 before its approval by the cabinet. Though in some provisions, the new draft is better than the old draft of Communal Violence Bill, 2005 the present piece of law is inadequate to protect religious minorities and punish perpetrators of communal and targeted violence, especially the top executive, bureaucracy and police. Some provisions are contrary to the objectives of such a law and further make it regressive and draconian. The meeting requested the central government attend to the concerns of civil, human rights and minority organisations before its approval.
In another resolution, the meeting expressed apprehensions about the proposed amendments to Waqf Act now before the cabinet. As per certain reports, there is a cabinet move for takeover of Wakf properties in the country from Muslim Waqf Boards. It is an urgent social need to curb the misuse of Waqf properties and to utilize them for community welfare and development. The meeting pointed out that the first priority of the central and state governments should be to return the bulk of encroached Waqf properties to the Muslim community and, not the total administrative control of the Muslim Waqf Boards.
The NEC meeting of Popular Front also demanded the enactment of a strong and foolproof Lokpal Bill in the forthcoming session of the parliament. Also the meeting called for a national debate on the issue of takeover of legislative authority from democratic institutions by self appointed representatives on behalf of civil society.
Chairman E. M. Abdul Rahiman presided over the meeting. General Secretary K. M. Shareef, Vice Chairman Muhammed Ali Jinnah and other members of NEC attended the meeting.