Shabbir Ali accuses Modi and Amit Shah of misleading statements on Muslim reservation

· Congress leader writes letter to PM Modi explaining history of Muslim quota · 4% Muslim quota in Telangana, AP is not on the basis of religion: Shabbir

Shabbir Ali accuses Modi and Amit Shah of misleading statements on Muslim reservation

Senior Congress leader and Advisor to the Telangana Government for SC, ST, BC, and Minorities, Mohammed Ali Shabbir, addressed the media at Gandhi Bhavan in Hyderabad. During the press conference, he criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for their misleading statements on Muslim reservations.

Hyderabad, May 24: Congress senior leader and Advisor to the Telangana Government (SC, ST, BC & Minorities) Mohammed Ali Shabbir has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah of making misleading statements about Muslim reservations to create communal tension.


Addressing a press conference at Gandhi Bhavan on Friday, Shabbir Ali claimed that Modi and Shah were spreading misinformation regarding the 4% Muslim reservation in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. To clarify the issue, he said he had written an open letter to PM Modi, a copy of which he shared with the media.


In his letter, Shabbir Ali expressed his dismay over the speeches made by Modi and Shah, accusing them of deliberately creating communal rifts. He refuted their claims that the 4% Muslim reservation in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh was based on religion and unconstitutional.


"As a Congress leader involved in the process of Muslim reservation since 1989, I must clarify that the 4% Muslim reservation in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh was not granted based on religion," Shabbir Ali stated. "There is a detailed chronology that must be understood before making comments against Muslim reservation."


Shabbir Ali explained that the Muslim reservation in the then-undivided Andhra Pradesh was not based on religion. He pointed out that only 14 identified groups among the poorest Muslims are eligible for the quota, while the majority of other groups are excluded. He also clarified that the 4% Muslim quota was not created by reducing the quotas for Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), or Other Backward Classes (OBCs).


"When the Congress came to power in 2004, we implemented a 5% reservation for Muslims to fulfill our manifesto promise. A new category, 'E', was created among OBCs. The existing reservation was 46% (SCs - 15%; STs - 6%; BCs - 25%), which was kept intact, and a separate 5% reservation was introduced," he explained. "Since this exceeded the Supreme Court's 50% ceiling on reservations, the High Court struck it down, leading us to reduce the quota to 4% through new legislation."


Shabbir Ali emphasized that the Muslim reservation under the BC-E category was established by legislation passed by the Andhra Pradesh Assembly and Council. "By calling the Muslim quota unconstitutional, you are showing disrespect to the Legislature," he said.


He clarified that the 4% Muslim reservation is not based on religion but covers 14 economically and socially backward castes among Muslims, as identified by the Backward Classes Commission. The reservations were granted based on recommendations from the Andhra Pradesh Backward Classes Commission, creating a separate category 'E' among BCs. This 4% quota benefits the poorest of poor Muslims. Excluded groups include Syed, Moghal, Pathans, Irani, Bohra, and others, while socially and economically weak groups practising professions like barber, butcher, stone-crusher, washermen, etc., are included in the BC-E Group.


"The 4% Muslim reservation has been in place in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh since March 2010 under a stay granted by the Supreme Court. Therefore, calling it unconstitutional amounts to contempt of the Supreme Court and disrespect for the Constitution," Shabbir Ali asserted.


He further explained that the 4% Muslim reservation case is pending in the Supreme Court and will be heard by a Constitutional Bench. He accused Modi and Shah of attempting to influence the case with their misleading and provocative statements. As a party involved in the case, Shabbir Ali warned of potential legal action if such comments continued.


"The Congress party has never indulged in appeasement politics. We have always implemented measures that ensure the socio-economic empowerment of poor communities, irrespective of their religion, caste, or region. We rely on in-depth studies, surveys, official data, and other factors before making decisions, rather than implementing recommendations to please any particular community," he said.


Shabbir Ali cited the example of the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities, constituted by the UPA Government in 2004 and headed by former Chief Justice of India, Justice Ranganath Misra. The commission was tasked with identifying socially and economically backward sections among religious and linguistic minorities and recommending welfare measures, including reservation in education and government employment. After a comprehensive study of over two years, the commission submitted its report in 2007, recommending 10% reservation for Muslims and 5% for other minorities.


"Despite facing no obstacles in implementing these recommendations, the Congress-led UPA Government avoided doing so, as we do not believe in appeasement politics. Instead, we initiated alternate welfare measures as recommended by the Sachar Committee. The Congress party has never used reservations as a tool to woo voters but has extended necessary assistance to the poorest of the poor among all communities," he explained.


Shabbir Ali enclosed historical documents and reports from the Backward Classes Commission, the Ranganath Misra Commission, and government orders issued in 1994 and 2004 to support his statements. He urged Modi to review these documents to understand the true basis of the Muslim quota.


"I request you to kindly study these documents, which I am sure will change your stand on the Muslim quota. However, if you are speaking against the Muslim quota solely for political gain and to create a communal divide, no amount of evidence can change your stand," he said.


Shabbir Ali concluded by reminding Modi that as the Prime Minister of India, he represents all 140 crore people, irrespective of their religion or caste. "Your speeches suggest a deliberate anti-Muslim stance to lure voters from other communities. By creating a false impression that Muslims have snatched the rights of other communities, you are harming the poorest Muslim families who are socially, economically, and educationally backward," he alleged.


He urged Modi to speak the truth and refrain from spreading falsehoods that harm the socio-economic fabric of the nation. However, he said if Modi and Amit Shah continue making such speeches, he would file a contempt petition in the Supreme Court.

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