Lucknow: Questioning the government's move to provide Muslim reservation, BJP leader Murali Manohar Joshi on Saturday said there should be a fresh debate on the definition of religious minorities.

"They (the government) are giving 4.5 per cent to Muslims from existing OBC quota...what's the point in it?" he asked.

"A debate is needed that who are minorities because in a secular democracy there is no meaning of religious minorities," Joshi said.

He said there are two important questions -- first, who could be religious minorities in a secular democracy and secondly, what is the religion of the state.

"Linguistic minority is understandable but what is the religion of the country and who are considered as majority?" the former HRD minister asked.

Joshi said when a group of people settle in a state, having its own religion, from some other place due to political reason or persecution, then they are religious minorities but a large number of minorities in India were those who converted to other religions.

He said the 4.5 per cent reservation for Muslims will benefit only the creamy layers among the community as backward among Muslims have been already covered under reservation.

The Mandal commission has designated a section of castes as backward and many of them have large number of Muslim population, he said.

"Castes like Bunkar and Kasai are already covered under reservation. This section was created on education and social basis...as backward among Muslims were already covered under reservation, the additional quota would only benefit the creamy layers among the community," Joshi said.
The BJP leader said religion-based reservation is against the Constitution and the Congress has done it with an eye on Uttar Pradesh polls.

The move would lead to tension among backwards and Muslims and it is dangerous for the country.

"BJP had already opposed it in Parliament and will create public awareness on the issue," he said.

(Agencies)