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Will restore 4% Muslim quota in Karnataka, if elected: Congress


Karnataka Congress president DK Shivakumar termed the Cabinet decision to scrap reservation for Muslims under Category 2B in the OBC list as unconstitutional. (PTI)

Criticising the BJP-led Karnataka government for its decision to scrap reservation for Muslims under Category 2B in the OBC list, the Congress declared on Sunday that it would restore the quota to the minority community in the event of the party coming to power in the state, where assembly elections are due by May.

The Cabinet meeting on Friday also decided to split this quantum (4 per cent) equally between Vokkaliga and Veerashaiva-Lingayats at two per each in jobs and admissions in educational institutions, which was welcomed by the two politically influential communities.

The government moved Muslims into the 10 per cent Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) pool.

Karnataka Congress president DK Shivakumar termed the step “unconstitutional”. “They (the government) think that reservation can be distributed like a property. It’s not a property. It’s a right (of minorities)”, he told reporters here. “We don’t want their four per cent to be scrapped and given to any of the major communities. They ((members of the minority community) are our brothers and family members,” he said.

”Entire Vokkaligas and Veerashaiva-Lingayats are rejecting this offer,” Shivakumar claimed.

Exuding confidence that the Congress party will come to power in the “next 45 days”, he said: “We will scrap all this” and added that there is no basis to remove Muslims from the OBC list.Charging the Basavaraj Bommai government with trying to rake up “emotional issues” as it’s set to lose the polls, Shivakumar said as party president, he wants to declare that the first meeting of the Cabinet, in the event of Congress coming to power, would take a decision to restore the quota.

Leader of the Opposition, Siddaramaiah, also lashed out at the BJP government, saying it has “betrayed everyone” by creating confusion on the reservation issue and dividing people based on religion and caste.

“The purpose of the Constitution by Ambedkar is to provide equal protection without discrimination based on caste, religion or gender. This is what Article 14 of the Constitution says. Articles 15 and 16 provide for reservation in education and employment. It aims to give special privileges to those deprived of opportunities and bring them into the mainstream. It is only when the socially and educationally backward are brought into the mainstream that we can move towards the establishment of an equal society. This is clearly stated in the Constitution,” Siddaramaiah said.

Meanwhile, Muslim community leaders said they will challenge the move in court. Top Muslim religious leaders of Karnataka on Saturday held a meeting where they denounced the move and vowed to fight it out legally. “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, said.

With agency inputs

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