Muslim groups say extend caste census to minorities as well

SEVENTEEN Muslim organisations, under the umbrella of All India Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz, on Thursday demanded a caste census for minority communities.

Amid a growing demand for a caste census, particularly by parties in Bihar, Muslim organisations representing backward classes have demanded that it should not be restricted to the Hindu community but be extended to minority communities as well, which follow the caste system.

All India Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz founder Ali Anwar Ansari, a former Rajya Sabha MP from Bihar, on Thursday held a meeting with the Muslim organisations in Delhi, after which they resolved to demand a caste enumeration among Muslims. Ansari will be taking the demand to Uttar Pradesh and Haryana as well.

“Nobody is raising their voice for weaker sections of the Muslim community. Muslims, contrary to perception, are not a monolithic homogenous community. Caste persists among Muslims as well and 80 per cent of the Muslim population belong to other backward classes,” Ansari told The Indian Express. “Development of such communities can take place only if there is data – on who the land owners are, what the economic situation of different communities are etc.”

“In their letter to [Bihar Chief Minister] Nitish Kumar, five opposition parties, including Congress and Left parties, have said that there should be caste enumeration in the Hindu community, and we have found this highly objectionable. There should be an enumeration for everyone in the country, all religions,’’ said Ansari.

A resolution passed at the meeting said, “Muslims, like Hindus, are divided among different castes and sub-castes. Since the caste census has not been done since 1931, this is a reason why the benefits of the government’s policies have not reached the relatively weaker sections and numerically smaller castes. Backward classes should be sub-categorised into backward and most backward on the lines of Bihar. The sub-categorisation should be done at the central level and extended to the rest of the country.”

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