NEW DELHI – Jamaat-e-Islami Hind has expressed its support for the Women’s Reservation Bill proposed by the government while emphasizing the need for broader inclusion. In a press release issued on Wednesday, the organization urged the government to extend the provisions of the bill to encompass women from the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and the Muslim community.
Professor Salim Engineer, the Vice President of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, emphasized the importance of diverse representation in a democracy. He stated, “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.”
While commending the Women’s Reservation Bill as a step in the right direction, Professor Engineer pointed out a significant gap in its current form. He noted that the bill includes reservations for women from Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) but fails to address the social inequalities affecting women from OBCs and the Muslim community.
Citing various reports and studies, including the Justice Sachar Committee report (2006) and the India Exclusion Report (2013-14), Professor Engineer highlighted the socio-economic disparities faced by Indian Muslims, especially women. He stressed that the political representation of Muslims in Parliament and state legislatures has been steadily declining and is not proportionate to their population.
Moreover, Professor Engineer raised concerns about the timing of the proposed reservation. He noted that it would only come into effect after the publication of the next Census and the subsequent delimitation exercise, which means that its benefits can be realized no earlier than 2030. He suggested that the timing of this proposal appears to coincide with the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections and may lack sincerity.
In conclusion, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind called for the Women’s Reservation Bill to be amended to include OBC and Muslim women, emphasizing that ignoring these groups would be unjust and inconsistent with the policy of “Sab ka Saath, Sab ka Vikas” (Together with All, Development for All).
The organization’s stance adds to the ongoing discussion surrounding the Women’s Reservation Bill, bringing attention to the importance of addressing the specific needs and concerns of different marginalized groups in India’s political landscape.