Recruitment into civil services and other government jobs has been the focus of renewed attention after allegations surfaced of favouritism being shown towards Muslims. In this regard, an organisation that often finds a mention is the Zakat Foundation of India. The organisation helps Muslims get selected into the bureaucracy and other government jobs by providing them with coaching and other help.
The Zakat Foundation, as we have reported earlier, is linked to the Radical Islamic preacher Zakir Naik and a host of Islamist organisations. Furthermore, they demand ‘proportional representation’ and reservations for Muslims in government jobs. Additionally, the president of ZFI, Syed Zafar Mahmood, made a list of demands for Muslims to concede Ram Janmabhoomi to Hindus while negotiations were underway between the Hindu and Muslims sides for an amicable settlement.
Needless to say, the demands were utterly preposterous and represent the dangerous mindset the Zakat Foundation of India operates with. It also shows that ZFI wanted to squeeze every benefit they could get playing upon the attachment that Hindus have towards the Janmabhoomi. Fortunately, the negotiations failed and the Supreme Court ruled in the favour of Hindus and paved the way for the construction of a Bhavya Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
In this report, we shall go through the eight demands that were made. The first demand was, “The constituencies of Lok Sabha and state assemblies where the Muslim population is very high while the Scheduled Caste percentage is not among the highest should be de-reserved. Instead, reserve those constituencies where SC percentage is among the highest, as recommended by Sachar Committee.”
This demand stems from the ZFI’s intention of increasing Muslim MPs in the Lok Sabha. The ZFI is of the opinion that the number of Muslim MPs in the Lower House of the Parliament is less than the number it is supposed to be in terms of their proportion to the Indian population. In short, they wish to have Muslim MPs proportional to their share of their population, a demand that was summarily rejected by the Constituent Assembly of India.
Furthermore, the Sachar Committee that is spoken of here is a panel that was set up by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to look into alleged Muslim deprivation and Syed Zafar Mahmood actually served in the Committee. Thus, he is promoting the recommendations of a committee he was himself a member of.
The second demand was, “The Alternative Admission Criteria for undergraduate level admission into all universities and colleges of India should be accepted, approved and implemented as recommended by Sachar Committee.” The Alternative Admission Criteria (AAC) spoken of here is one where merit would account for only 60% of the points required for admission. The remaining 40% would be made on the basis of ‘backwardness’ in terms of household income, place of residence and class.
The third demand says, “To fill the posts of CEO of state waqf boards the central government should accept, approve and implement the launching of Indian Waqf Service as recommended by the Sachar Committee.” The Indian Waqf Services, thus proposed, would be along the lines of civil services. The proposal was rejected by the Ministry of Minority affairs, stating that a new cadre was neither practicable nor legally feasible. The ZFI recommended that a resolution ought to be passed by the parliament for the creation of the Waqf Service.
The fourth demand states, “The RBI proposal of allowing the banks to have a window for interest-less banking should be approved by the central government.” Charging interest is considered ‘Haram’ in Islam, therefore, the Zakat Foundation sought the establishment of interest-less banking for the Muslim community.
The fifth demand says, “The Minority character of Aligarh Muslim University should be accepted, approved and implemented by the central government.” The sixth states, “Any person who is charged with terror activity and is, after several years of multi-dimensional sufferance, exonerated by the court as innocent should be given Rs 50 lakh as compensation by the government. Later on, this money should be partly deducted from the salary/pension/provident fund/retirement benefits of the officer(s) who wrongly implicated him.”
The seventh states, “Give a proportionate share to Muslims in nominated posts and appointments under the state & central governments.” Here, the Zakat Foundation is demanding reservations for the Muslim community, along the lines of the reservations made for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in employment opportunities, proportional to their population.
The last demand states, “Appoint Equal Opportunity Commission at the centre and in the states as recommended by Sachar Committee.” The Sachar Committee had recommended thus, “It is a well accepted maxim in law that not only must justice be done but it must appear to be done. It is in that context that the Committee recommends that an Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC) should be constituted by the Government to look into the grievances of a deprived groups.”
With regards to the function of the EOC, a commission set up by the Ministry of Minority Affairs states, “Given its unique role in evidence-based advocacy on behalf of the discriminated and deprived groups, it is but natural that the EOC should be involved in research and dissemination of data on all forms of discrimination and denial of equal opportunities in every sector of public activity.”
It adds, “In the process, it has the difficult task of creation of indices to measure inequality or discrimination in different sectors of activity and of different sections of people. It is this capacity to collect, evaluate and disseminate hard data which gives the Commission the authority to intervene on behalf of the deprived and discriminated groups.”
The EOC ought to have a host of other functions along similar lines as well. In short, the purpose of the EOC is ‘social justice’ and quite clearly, the EOC begins with the assumption that certain groups are ‘victim groups’, that is, oppressed, while others are ‘aggressors’ or oppressors. Furthermore, since it is a recommendation made by the Sachar Committee, it appears that Muslims would be placed in the ‘victim’ section as well.
Thus, quite clearly, the Zakat Foundation wished to extract great unfair concessions from the Hindu Community in return for the Ram Mandir. Their intention was explicitly to coerce Hindus into making grave concessions playing upon their attachment to Ram Janmabhoomi. They were aware of the significance that Ram Janmabhoomi had for Hindus and they wanted to use that opportunity to secure huge concessions for their community.