//Muslims in Gujarat need help, leaders tell PM

Muslims in Gujarat need help, leaders tell PM

Ahmedabad: Muslim leaders in Gujarat have told a prime minister’s committee the community urgently needs job reservations, educational help and bank loans to lift it out of socio-economic backwardness.

As the Prime Minister’s High Level Committee arrived here for its three-day visit to the state “for preparation of a report on the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community of India”, an organisation named Ahmedabad Muslim Merchant Association (AMMA) demanded reservation for Muslims in public employment. “Taking into account the poor condition of Muslims economically, educationally and socially, there has arisen a vicious circle of poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and ill-health. If this vicious circle is to be broken, reservation, at least in public employment, should be given to Muslims,” said the AMMA application submitted to the committee.

AMMA president Nissar Soni said: “Reservation would give a sense of participation and will open new openings for future generation and will enable the Muslim community to come out of frustration and alienation.” The representations made portrayed the economic, social and educational backwardness of the minority community and demanded the promotion of education and adequate representation of Muslims in government boards and committees.

The education among Gujarati Muslims has suffered after the communal violence in 2002. The children of around 10,000 displaced Muslim families find difficulty in accessing schools.”

“Moreover, the state government is not permitting Muslim trusts to start schools run on government grants. Therefore we have demanded more schools near Muslim localities,” a social activist Haneef Lakdawala said.

A Muslim legislator demanded allocation of grants for promotion of education in the community.

“Minority institutions and healthcare centres should be given more assistance and educational institutes run by Muslim trusts should be given their due share in grants,” said Farooq Shaikh, a legislator from Dariapur locality of Ahmedabad.

The issue of credit and finance repeatedly emerged during the presentations that also demanded “at least a nationalised bank in a Muslim dominated area like Juhapura.