ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Reservations and Minorities

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Asked by a reporter of Time about reservations in education and government jobs for the minorities in India, Bangaru Laxman, president of BJP, said: “Some Muslims – Ansaris and Qureshis – have already been covered under the Mandal Commission recommendations. If a better case was made with regard to the others, it would be examined.” This statement has provoked a controversy, part of which is due to misinformation.

Indeed, the Mandal Commission includes, among others, a number of Muslim communities in the categories of Other Backward Classes (OBC), and thereby it makes a departure from the usual practice of granting reservations to some Hindus exclusively. For instance, in 1956 the Mahars of Maharashtra were deprived of their benefits as scheduled castes as soon as they converted to Neo-Buddhism. But under pressure an exception was made to prove the rule. This discriminatory practice was successfully challenged in 1969 when, after years of contention, the withdrawal was withdrawn. That was an exception. However, the present inclusion of Muslims into the OBC by the Mandal Commission still awaits legal jurisdiction, precedent or no precedent.

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