In the midst of a raging controversy over the Supreme Court's stay on the 27 per cent reservation for OBC students in elite educational institutions, the Tamil Nadu government on Thursday announced an 'exclusive reservation' for Christains and Muslims in government services and educational institutions.
Intervening during a debate on the demands of grants for the minorities department, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi told the state Assembly that the government had accepted the recommendations of the state Backward Classes Commission, headed by Justice M Janardanam, retired judge of the Madras high court, in this regard.
He said the commission, which had been asked to go into the question, had stated that the report of the Second Class Backward Commission, headed by J A Ambashankar, which went into the number of backward class people in the state, could be the basis for the 'exclusive' reservation for Christains and Muslims.
The Ambashankar Commission had studied the population of backward class people among the Hindus, Christians and Muslims.
The government will take legal steps to implement the exclusive reservation for minorities once the Supreme Court prounced its verdict on the 69 per cent reseration case, pending before it, Karunanidhi said.
He said full details on the exclusive reservation would be announced after consultations with 'friendly parties' of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.
Tracing the history of the social justice movement and reservation in the state, Karunanidhi said the famous 'communal GO of 1921', which had sown the seeds of reservation, included that Muslims and 'Indian Christains' enjoy the benefits of reservation.
In the 1927 GO, Muslims and Christains were provided with separate reservation on the basis of 'rotation', he said.
The DMK government in 1973-74 included Urdu speaking Labbies and Tekkani Muslims in the list of backward classes, Karunanidhi said.
Muslims and Christians had been demanding an exclusive reservation in government services and educational institutions for long and the DMK, accepting their demand, in its election manifesto for 2006 Assembly, had promised to provide separate reservation for them, Karunanidhi said.
In the state's budget last year, the government had said it would take firm steps for reservation for Muslims and Christians besides urging the Centre to provide separate reservation for minorities, he said.
The state had asked the state Backward Classes Commission to go into the question of reservation for minorities and had accepted its recommendations in this regard, he said amidst thumbing of desks by DMK, Congress, PMK and Left party MLAs.