Women’s Reservation Bill was much needed but should give representation to OBC and Muslim women: Jamaat-e-Islami Hind

September 20, 2023

New Delhi; 20 Sept. 2023: Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) has said that the government’s proposed Women’s Reservation Bill is much needed, but it should also give reservations to OBC and Muslim women.

In a  press statement,  JIH Vice President Prof. Salim Engineer said, “for a strong democracy, it is important for all groups and classes to find representation in power-sharing. Even after 75 years since we got independence, the representation of women in Parliament and our state legislatures is quite dismal. Efforts should be made to bring their numbers up to the mark. The Women’s Reservation Bill is a good move in this direction. Actually, it should have come quite earlier. However, the draft for the Bill in its current form does not address the stark social inequalities in a vast country like India by excluding women from OBCs, and Muslim women. Although the legislation does include women from SCs and STs it ignores those from OBCs and the Muslim community. Various reports and studies like the Justice Sachar Committee report (2006), Post-Sachar Evaluation Committee Report (2014), Report of the Expert Group on Diversity Index (2008), India Exclusion Report (2013-14), 2011 Census and latest NSSO reports – all suggest that Indian Muslims and especially women lack in socio-economic indices. The political representation of Muslims in Parliament and state legislatures has been steadily declining. It is not proportionate to the size of their population.”

The JIH Vice President avered that the proposed reservation would come into effect only after the publication of the next Census and the subsequent delimitation exercise. “It means that the benefits of the Bill can be accrued only after 2030. Hence, we feel that the timing of this proposal appears to eye the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections and lacks sincerity. One of the many ways to remove inequality is affirmative action (reservation). Ignoring OBC and Muslim women in the Women’s Reservation Bill would be unjust and not in tune with the policy of “Sab ka Saath, Sab ka Vikas,” he added.

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