National President of the BJP OBC Morcha K Laxman demanded a 50 per cent reservation for Pasmanda Muslims in Muslim institutions such as Aligarh Muslim University, Jamia Millia Islamia and Jamia Hamdard, on Saturday (6 August).
He drew "attention to the centuries-old injustice and exploitation of the Pasmanda Muslims within the community." Calling them "socially, economically and politically weak".
Laxman was addressing the Pasmanda Muslim Sneh Milan Awam Samman Samroh, organised by Delhi BJP. National president of the Rashtrawadi Muslim Pasmanda Mahaz, Atif Rasheed, was also present. Rasheed had written to the Vice-Chancellors of AMU, JMI and JH in June, requesting reservation for Pasmanda Muslims in the universities.
Laxman also claimed that the demand for reservation is not limited to the two central universities and a deemed university. Rasheed said that they have written to 5,200 Muslim educational institutes with minority status across the country, The Hindu reported.
This is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call to party workers to reach out to the "deprived and downtrodden" sections among minorities "such as the Pasmanda Muslims", that he made during the BJP national executive meeting in Hyderabad last month.
Who are Pasmanda Muslims?
Muslims can socially be categorised into three groupings- Ashrafs, Ajlaf and Arjal. Ashrafs are traditionally dominant and trace their lineage to Muslim conquerors or upper caste Hindus who converted to Islam very early on.
Ajlafs can be understood as 'Backward Muslims' and Arjals as 'Dalit Muslims'. They collectively form Pasmanda Muslims and comprise nearly 85 per cent of the Muslim population in India. Saifi (carpenters), Ansari (weavers) Ghosi (shepherds), Salmani (barbers), Qureshi (butchers) and such are Ajlaf Muslims, while Arjals are believed to be the Dalit Hindus who converted to Islam.
Pasmanda community has been raising the issue of poor representation for decades. They also claim that out of the roughly 400 Muslims elected in the first 14 Lok Sabhas, only 60 were from the Pasmanda background. An organisation called Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz was founded by Ali Anwar, an OBC Muslim in 1998 in Bihar for the emancipation of Ajlaf and Arzal Muslims.
The organisation has been demanding SC reservation for Dalit Muslims, while OBC reservation has been given to Muslims in many states.
The party's UP state unit is said to be paying special attention to Pasmanda Muslims.
-Danish Azad Ansari was made the Minister of State for Minority Welfare in the Uttar Pradesh government.
-Coming from the Pasmanda background, Javed Ansari and Chaudhary Kafil-Ul-Wara have been appointed as Chairman of UP Board of Madarsa education and chief of the UP Urdu Akademi respectively.
-To win all 80 Lok Sabha seats of the state in the 2024 general election, BJP is planning to expand its base among the Yadavs, Jatavs and Pasmanda Muslims.
UP Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya had also dropped a hint in a recent tweet, saying Yaduvanshi (Yadavs), Ravidasiya (Jatavs) and Pasmanda Muslims will be brought closer to the BJP so that the lotus 'blossoms' in every booth in UP.
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