People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 11, 2007
CPI(M)’s Charter For Advancement Of Muslim Community
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has called upon the UPA government to frame a concrete programme backed with adequate financial allocations to address the discrimination faced by the minority communities, particularly Muslims, in the economic, social and educational sphere.
Prakash Karat, general secretary of the Party released ‘CPI(M)’s Charter for Advancement of Muslim Community’ at a press conference on March 5. CPI(M) deputy leader of Lok Sabha and convenor of minorities sub-committee of CPI(M) central committee, Mohd Salim, was present on the occasion.
One of the major demands of the charter is the formulation of a sub-plan for the Muslim community on the lines of the tribal sub-plan and a specific budgetary allocation in all development schemes for Muslims proportionate to their population at the all-India level. West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was the first to raise this demand during discussions on the Approach Paper to Eleventh Plan.
Prakash Karat said the CPI(M) appreciates the spirit and direction of the Sachar Committee recommendations and therefore on its basis suggested certain affirmative actions through the charter in order to ensure for the Muslim community greater access to education, employment, income generation and security. Making it clear that these proposals are not propagandist, he said the Party formulated them with a realistic approach on what the government of India can do presently. He said this charter is being sent to various organisations/persons for their response. The suggestions and response received will be discussed and finalised at a convention to be held shortly.
Karat advised the government not to be browbeaten by the propaganda of fundamentalist forces about appeasement of minorities. Agreeing with the Sachar Committee, he said there was no need for reservations on the basis of religion but affirmative action.
Responding to a question, Karat said although Muslims in Bengal have benefited largely due to land reforms, their presence in government service was low and this is being addressed by the state government.
The following is the full text of the CPI(M) Charter:
The 138 million (13.8 crore) Muslims in India are intrinsic to the multi-cultural, multi-lingual and multi-religious mosaic that is India. Secular democracy, under the Constitution, provides equal opportunities and fundamental rights for all irrespective of race, religion or creed as citizens of the country. A democratic system is evaluated by how it treats its minorities - whether religious, ethnic or linguistic. For fostering national unity, for strengthening democracy and secularism, it is essential that the Muslim minority, who constitute 13.4 per cent of the population, are provided equal opportunities to access the benefits of development and the fundamental rights given in the Constitution.
The Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee report has highlighted the deplorable socio-economic plight of the mass of the Muslim community. It has served to highlight the urgent need to adopt special measures for the upliftment in their social and economic conditions. It has also effectively rebutted the false and motivated propaganda about “minority appeasement”.
In the light of the Sachar Committee report, the Central government must frame a concrete programme backed with adequate financial allocations to address the discrimination faced by minority communities, in particular the Muslim minority community in the economic, social and educational sphere. It is essential to immediately identify Muslim areas and conduct concrete surveys, so that the assistance can be concretized. This exercise must be done in a time-bound framework.
i) The government must formulate a sub-plan for the Muslim community on the lines of the tribal sub-plan. There has to be a specific budgetary allocation in all development schemes for Muslims proportionate to their population at the all-India level. Under a special component plan, allocation may be made in the states proportionate to the percentage of Muslims in that state.
ii) The implementation of existing schemes for minority welfare must be strictly monitored. Increased financial allocations to institutions such as Maulana Azad Foundation, NMDFC, Wakf Council etc. should be ensured to strengthen and expand the schemes.
iii) Effective steps for protection of Wakf properties and proper utilization of these properties for the welfare, educational and social development of the community.
iv) In Muslim populated villages and municipal wards, it is found that often there are neither ICDS nor primary health centers. These must be ensured.
v) Special schemes to ensure housing for poorer sections of the community must be ensured.
EMPLOYMENT AND INCOME GENERATION
i) Provide reservations for dalit Muslims.
ii) In the important field of employment, it is necessary for OBC Muslims to get an adequate share of the reserved quota for OBCs. At present, even though they are listed in a large number of states as OBCs, they have hardly benefited through the OBC quota. Access to OBC certificates must be simplified. Where Muslim OBCs have not been listed, such an exercise must be completed in a time-bound manner. A monitoring mechanism can be set up in different states to check the progress on this front.
iii) In recruitments for state and Central security forces, Muslims must get adequate representation.
iv) Adequate number must be empanelled in all selection committees of recruitment boards.
v) Since large numbers of the Muslim community, including Muslim women, are engaged in traditional work as artisans and self-employed, it is essential to make easy credit available to them. Smooth flow of credit from financial institutions, banks and various corporations for self-employment, micro-enterprises and small and medium scale industries must be ensured. The 15 per cent allocation for minorities from priority sector bank loans assured by the Prime Minister must be implemented.
vi) It is found that Muslim women have not had adequate opportunities in the self-help group sector. Attention must be paid to form women’s self-help groups among Muslims with bank linkages.
vii) Large scale skill development programmes to upgrade traditional skills must be organized by government for the community with special programmes for Muslim women. Special emphasis must be placed on trades traditionally undertaken by minority groups.
viii) In land reform programmes, in allocation of plots in residential and industrial areas, shops, stalls, petrol/gas dealerships, opportunities for Muslims should be ensured.
i) Schools, including residential schools imparting modern education for both girls and boys must be built in all districts and blocks with sizable Muslim population. Muslim girls’ hostels must be constructed to facilitate education among girls.
ii) Incentives for women’s and girl’s education must be given. Increase in the number of hostels including hostels for Muslim girls.
iii) There must be a substantial increase in increase in stipends and scholarships on means cum merit basis.
iv) Recruitment of Urdu-speaking teachers and filling up of vacancies of Urdu teaching posts in schools. Urdu must be available as an optional subject in all government and government-aided schools in areas with substantial Urdu-speaking population. Good quality textbooks in Urdu must be provided.
v) Efforts should be made to introduce and encourage scientific and job oriented education in Madarsas. In some states like West Bengal, general syllabus is also taught in Madarsas and certificates and degrees awarded by Madarsas are recognized. This enables easy migration from Madarsas to general education institutions. This model may be tried in other states also.
vi) Special programmes should be undertaken to establish vocational training institutes, polytechnics and colleges in Muslim-dominated areas.
i) Justice to communal violence victims must be ensured. Adequate compensation to all victims including victims of the Gujarat genocide in line with that of the 1984 victims.
ii) All perpetrators of communal violence must be immediately brought to book within a time-bound framework, regardless of their public or official position.
iii) Recommendations of the Sri Krishna Commission on the Mumbai violence which indicted top politicians, police and government officers to be implemented.
iv) Government must end delay and immediately institute time-bound CBI investigations into the Gujarat genocide related cases, whose victims are still denied justice.