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Political Agenda of Pasmanda Muslims in Lok Sabha Elections, 2014

Political Agenda of Pasmanda Muslims in Lok Sabha Elections, 2014

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National Alliance of Pasmanda Organizations (NAPO)

In a meeting of various pasmanda (dalit and backward caste) muslim and other dalit/OBC organizations/intellectuals held in Lucknow on June 30, 2013 the following resolutions were adopted in the wake of Lok Sabha Elections 2014:

a) Boycott of any political party supporting the ashraf-driven demand of TOTAL MUSLIM RESERVATIONS (TMR). The pasmanda muslims are already covered within the existing reservations policy [about 82 Muslim backward castes were included in the Central OBC (Mandal) list in 1990]. Hence, TMR is nothing but a ploy to bring the ashraf castes within the ambit of reservations. The exclusion of forward Muslims from the Central OBC list is the main driving force for TMR campaigns. The point is not about chalking a separate quota for all Muslims but rather the deepening of existing reservation policy so that an adequate share for dalit and backward caste Muslims is secured. The ashraf Muslims are not ‘socially and educationally’ backward and hence cannot be considered for reservations;

b) Support to any political party raising the following pasmanda demands:

* Scrapping of Para (3) of Constitution (SCs) Order, 1950 so that dalit Muslims and dalit Christians are duly included in the SC list and they are not discriminated against on the basis of religion under Article 341 of the Indian Constitution;

* Adequate representation of pasmanda muslims in ticket distribution in proportion to their share of population (around 85% of Muslim population).

* Chalking out of a quota for Extremely Backward Castes (EBCs) within OBC quota at the Central and State levels (the Bihar formula) where the backward caste muslims could be clubbed together with similarly placed Hindu caste groups. This is a more judicious and non-communal demand than the 4.5% sub-quota for OBC-Minorities moved by the Congress Party before last Lok Sabha elections. Though we have no official data to show how many pasmanda muslims have benefitted from this separate quota for EBC in Bihar, we know from our experiences and the narratives of pasmanda government servants that we have gained substantially (without any charge of communalism) in terms of our representations in government jobs in all grades and education (particularly in terms of admission in state-run engineering, medical and other technical institutions);

* State support to the artisans, crafts-persons, agricultural laborers and other cottage and small-scale industries through effective subsidies, credit and loan facilities, marketing support, skill upgradation, etc.;

* Framing of progressive policies regarding the specific issues of pasmanda women.

c) Boycott of all anti-pasmanda candidates, especially ashraf candidates, who have been the key advisors on Muslim issues in most political parties and chiefly instrumental in marginalizing pasmanda demands;

d) Support to those pasmanda candidates that vocally raise pasmanda demands in their parties;

e) In case of non-availability of such pasmanda candidates in any constituency, candidates from other communities that support pasmanda demands should be considered (preference should be given to candidates from so-called ‘Hindu’ dalit and backward communities);

f) In any case, no support should be extended to any candidate with a criminal reputation.

The meeting was attended by about 55 delegates from the states of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar and Delhi. The representatives from the following organizations attended: All India Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz (UP), All India Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz (Bihar), Pasmanda Front (UP), Muslim All Backward Classes Organization (Maharashtra), Tambolian Jamaat (Maharashtra), All India United Muslim Morcha (UP), Pasmanda Intellectual Forum, JNU (Delhi), Association for Muslim Dalits (UP), Pasmanda Kranti Abhiyan (UP), Samajik Nyaya Manch (UP), Pichda Samaj Mahasabha (UP), etc.

It was also resolved that an umbrella alliance of pasmanda organizations was the need of the hour and the final modalities of the alliance should be worked out in the next meeting scheduled to be held in Pune (Maharashtra) in the month of August 2013.