Muslim leaders slam Karnataka govt for scrapping reservation, to challenge move in court

09:27 AM Mar 26, 2023 | PTI |

Bengaluru: The Karnataka BJP government’s decision to remove Muslims from the 2B category of Other Backward Classes, which gave them four percent reservation, has come under fire from leaders of the Muslim community who say they will challenge the move in court.


The Karnataka Cabinet, which met on Friday, had also decided to split this quantum of four percent equally between Vokkaligas and Veerashaiva-Lingayats at two percent each in jobs and admissions in educational institutions.

The move, which comes ahead of the Assembly elections that are due by May, was welcomed by the two politically influential communities.

The government’s decision has left Muslims to compete with the general category for the 10 percent reservation meant for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS), which is decided based on family income.

Muslim leaders called it a “grave injustice meted out to them”.


The Karnataka Cabinet also made recommendations to the Union government regarding internal reservation for Scheduled Castes: six percent for SC (Left), 5.5 percent SC (Right), 4.5 percent to “Touchables” and one percent to others (total 17 percent).

But Dalit leaders are unimpressed with the internal reservation, and said it meant nothing until the 17 percent for the SCs passed by the Karnataka Legislature got Constitutional validity.

A Muslim leader alleged that the community’s rights had been snatched away.

Some top Muslim religious leaders of Karnataka on Saturday held a meeting where they denounced the move and vowed to fight it out legally. They also called it a political move by the BJP government to win the upcoming Assembly election.

“Today, Muslims are below the SC and ST in terms of education. You can make out from the atrocities being perpetrated against the Muslims,” Maulavi Maqsood Imran of Jamia Masjid and a member of the Ulema Council told PTI, adding, “We will not hit the street or create ruckus on the road. We will fight for our rights legally.”

He said there was no objection to Vokkaligas and Lingayats getting additional reservation but it should not happen by taking away someone else’s rights.

“We want to appeal to the Vokkaliga and Lingayat seers whether they would like to take those rights which were snatched from others and given to them. We want them to build pressure on the government to get their due share of reservation,” he said.

According to him, it was possible to enhance the reservation for Vokkaligas and Lingayats without taking it away from Muslims.

In the meeting at the Khadaria Masjid on Millers Road, Muslim religious leaders also consulted lawyers on taking forward the fight legally.

Meanwhile, Dalit Sangharsh Samiti (Ambedkar Vada) leader Mavalli Shankar said the internal reservation for the SCs would not stand court scrutiny.

“Till the time the 17 percent reservation gets constitutional validity as was done for Economically Weaker Sections, the internal reservation for the SC (Left), SC (Right), SC (Touchables) and other SCs has no meaning,” Shankar told PTI.

A senior Dalit officer too expressed his unhappiness over the internal reservation saying it was just an eyewash because there was no constitutional validity to the 17 percent reservation proposed for the SCs by the State government.

After the Karnataka government decided to increase the reservation for Vokkaligas in 2C category from four percent to six percent and Lingayats in 2D category from five percent to seven percent, Basava Jaya Mrutyunjaya Swamiji of Panchamasali Peeth ended his two-year-old agitation.

He, however, said he had only “halted” the agitation till the elections are over and would renew his demands until they are met completely.

According to the Swamiji, the demand was for 15 percent reservation for Lingayats.

Sri Nirmalanandanatha Swamiji, a key religious leader of the Vokkaliga community, expressed his happiness over the two percent increase in reservation for the Vokkaligas.


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