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Muslim Appeasement Politics by KCR

Telangana’s Chief Minister Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) announced in the state assembly day before yesterday (18 January) that his government will table the long-pending bill to triple reservation for Muslims in education and employment, from the current 4 per cent to 12 per cent, in the upcoming budget session. Additionally, he told the house that he was planning to arm the Wakf Board in the state with judicial powers.

kcrmim

Let’s look at these two issues, how they have panned out so far and why this pandering to Muslims is dangerous, and not just in the constitutional sense.

Tripling Muslim quota

The chief minister has been very keen on increasing quotas for Muslims — it was a key poll promise during the 2014 assembly elections after all, so much so that he wanted to pass the quota bill in a special session of the assembly last year, which was convened in August to ratify the GST constitutional bill. However, his decision met with procedural roadblocks. Telangana didn’t have a Backward Classes (BC) commission back then. Only the commission of inquiry had endorsed the idea. Which wasn’t enough. Only a BC commission can “increase or decrease quotas or make additions or deletions on eligible castes”, as KCR’s BC welfare minister put it at the time.

In October, the commission was set up. Then KCR wanted to introduce the bill in the ongoing winter session, but deferred his decision after Telangana’s Advocate General advised him to do so. The latter didn’t want the bill to be passed in haste only to be struck down by the courts later. He had suggested that “it would be better if BC Commission tours districts to conduct hearings on the Muslim quota and submit a report to the government. Otherwise, it would be viewed as if the panel had drafted the report sitting in Hyderabad, which may face legal issues later.

On 15 December, the commission initiated public hearings on the matter and received about 52,000 representations, most of which supported the enhancement in Muslim quotas, as indicated by the commission’s Chairman B S Ramulu. By the time the budget session begins next month, the commission in all likelihood would’ve submitted its report. It is ready and endorses the Sudhir Commission recommendations. The commission members are waiting for an appointment with KCR. Congress, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) have also given official representation to the commission supporting the increase in the quota.

KCR says he is enhancing reservation for Muslims not on religious grounds but on their socio-economic conditions and educational backwardness. This line of argument is obvious. Quotas based on religious grounds are unconstitutional, and will not stand scrutiny in court.

So will KCR succeed in his enterprise? One can’t be sure given the myriad ways in which jurisprudence in the country works. The legal system is confused. In 2004, Y S Rajasekhara Reddy’s Congress government had enshrined 5 per cent quota for Muslims, taking the total reservation in the state to 51 per cent. This was struck down by the Andhra Pradesh high court citing the 49 per cent constitutional limit for quotas. Cleverly, the Reddy government changed the quantum of quota to 4 per cent. This was also deemed unconstitutional by a seven-member bench of the high court. When the matter reached the Supreme Court, it passed an interim order staying the Muslim quota until a separate constitutional bench decided on the matter. The case is still in progress.

KCR wants to avoid the whole legal tangle. He plans to go to the centre directly and ask the Modi government to put the state’s law into the ninth schedule. Laws in the ninth schedule are protected from judicial review. But the centre is unlikely to play ball. The chief minister has his plan sorted out. He will cite Tamil Nadu’s example. If it can give 69 per cent quota, why can’t we, goes the argument.

We will tell the Supreme Court that the Centre had allowed the Tamil Nadu government to implement reservation over and above 50 percent quota limit  prescribed by SC since 1991 by incorporating the state reservations in the IX Schedule of the Constitution. We will inform the Supreme Court that people in Telangana State are also demanding similar exemption. Since TS is also a state in India like TN, I am 100 percent confident that the hike in the Muslim quota will overcome all constitutional and legal issues as there cannot be different rules for different states. If we succeed, we will get quotas like TN. Otherwise, both the states will lose.” – (Source: Deccan Chronicle )

KCR’s confidence (100 per cent, no less) in the ‘rule of law’ is really charming. If he wants to pin his hopes on the apex court’s wisdom, he needs to get in line. Haryana government also wants to put the Jat quota in the ninth schedule. And more important, the 69 per cent quota in Tamil Nadu is not the final word. The matter is still sub-judice.

Judicial powers to Wakf Board

KCR’s insatiable thirst to appease Muslims doesn’t end with a substantial increase in their quota in jobs and education. He also wants to give judicial powers to the Wakf Board. He is wooing the youth of the community with the former, and Mullahs with the latter. His government will introduce a bill in the next session empowering the board. ‘Wakf land is being illegally grabbed’ is the justification behind the move. While he is right on the encroachment of land (out of 1.3 lakh acres in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the Wakf Board claims that 81,000 acres of land is encroached upon), by giving judicial powers to the board, he is barking up the wrong tree.

He has also promised to give back all vacant Wakf lands that were given to multinational corporations by the previous governments. He said:

“A huge extent of Wakf lands have been encroached upon in the city and districts during the undivided AP government. Several land cases have been lying pending for years. Due to the lack of judicial powers, the Wakf Board is not in a position to initiate action against land grabbers or resume lands. We will soon give judicial powers to Wakf Board.” (Source: Deccan Chronicle ).

Very touching indeed. How can the state give power of adjudication to one participating party in a legal battle? This is akin to giving judicial power to an alleged victim over the alleged accused. This is nothing but a step towards injecting Sharia-like laws in mainstream Indian jurisprudence. KCR’s plans threaten to turn the whole idea of the legal system on its head.

But let’s excuse KCR for his outrageous proposal for a second and talk about the rule of law, equality before the law and equal protection of law. Applying his own logic (If Tamil Nadu can give 69 per cent quota, why can’t we?), shouldn’t he give the same judicial powers to temples? There are 20,000 temples in the state (5,000 of which have prominent properties). These temples have about 86,000 acres of land, but more than half of it — 56,000 acres — has been encroached upon. Certainly, they also qualify to be given judicial powers?

But surely, the courts would stop KCR from pursuing his openly communal and common-sense-free politics? One shouldn’t hold one’s breath. Remember, these same courts have allowed communal laws like the Right to Education (RTE), which only applies to non-minorities (mostly Hindus), and given constitutional backing to bodies like the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI), which by law cannot have Hindu members. These same courts let the Sonia Gandhi-led United Progressive Alliance government overturn their own judgment in the Inamdar case (2005) by passing the 93rd constitutional amendment which sowed the seeds of sectarianism in the education sector.

But all is not lost. Yesterday (19 January), the Supreme Court ruled that churches do not have power to grant divorce decrees, only civil courts do. This means the Indian Divorce Act, 1989 will override the Christian personal law.

One hopes that the courts will not let KCR run roughshod over the rule of law.

PS: On top of it all, KCR has also increased honorarium for imams and mauzams from Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500 per month. He has also announced that the state government will bear the cost of all self-financing courses in minority degree colleges.

Nehruvian secularists were outraged when KCR allowed his guru to sit on the chief minister’s chair for a few seconds (which was mere symbolism), but are nowhere to be found when he is openly flouting the basic tenets of secularism. That’s why they have lost credibility. But rest of us must speak up and make it count.

Courtesy : Swarajya

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Collective efforts of local villagers give fresh life to closed govt schools in Telangana

They are giving life to closed schools, bringing back the old grandeur of those shut down government schools. With the initiatives of local villagers and help of donors, these schools are getting better day by day.

Colorful campaign flyers, multi-storeyed buildings, children in uniform attires of tie, belt, shoes, school buses – this is the general picture of corporate private schools. On the other hand, we find morose government schools – schools with no teachers; if there are teachers, no proper building; when school has both building and teachers, parents not willing to send their children to these schools, due to poor standards. If someone comes forward and admits their children in these schools, they are struck with a doubt whether their children would finally get some decent education or not. Parents were full of anxiety that their children might fall behind in the race with the English medium students. Bearing this financial burden, many parents ending up sending their children to private schools, thus resulting perilous for government schools.

In these kind of depressed situations, some schools are generating hopes. With the cooperation of peoples’ representatives and active participation of local villagers, few government schools are heading towards their old grandeur. Closed schools are being reopened. With little support, government schools are proving themselves to stand up against the campaign of private, corporate schools. Eenadu correspondent witnessed this change of environment in several districts of Telengana during his tour across the state.

Majority of parents send their children to private schools believing that children will get good education only in private schools with English medium. To meet the expensive tuition fee, transportation and other fees in these schools, parents relying on loans from outside. Finally, these things leading to closure of government schools due to insufficient number of students. This pathetic situations slowly forced parents to rethink on why not to support available government village schools, instead of spending most of the earning on private schools. This consciousness was quite visible more in villages away from towns and urban cities.

Eenadu daily correspondent during his tour of Karimnagar and Jagityala districts witnessed this awareness and efforts of villagers and local representatives to protecting and reviving government schools in their villages. Such incidents were also came into light from districts of Warangal, Khammam, Rangareddy etc.

What are they doing?

  • Re-opening of schools that were shut down for last several years
  • Discussing with parents who send their children to private schools and explaining to them about schools.
  • Started teaching in English medium
  • Restored elementary grade classes, children of 3 years and above are being admitted into LKG.
  • Arranging transportation services through auto-rickshaws and minivans for children coming from nearby villages

The classroom studies ends by 4pm, but teachers are engaging children for additional hour with sports and cultural activities. By this, students reaching their homes , just after their parents return from work in farms and other places.

Seeking donations from locals and well settled village families living away or in abroad, for chairs, desks, projectors to enable digital teaching methods, English medium textbooks, toys etc. They are also taking help from these donors to setup drinking water, build water tanks, taps.

Government appoints staff based on the number of children in school. To avoid the shortage of teacher’s villagers also hired some volunteers and meeting their expenses through personal donations.

They are asking parents to take a pledge of not to send their kids to private schools and prefer to government schools.  With these actions, govt teachers are too willing to imparting quality education.

Lively schools

Nirmala Primary School, of Devaruppala mandal in Janagama district, was about to be closed due to enrolment of 28 students only. Sensing the danger village sarpanch Edama Indira Narasimha Reddy along with teachers visited every family and convinced parents and began English medium classes. In addition to existing two teachers, villagers have also arranged two more education volunteers at the cost of Rs.3,500/- per month. They have appointed maids and helpers as well.

Singarajupally Primary school was running with only 18 students and it was also in similar straits. Sarpanch Yadagiri and others visited the then exemplary elementary school running at Ontimmidipally village of Ainavolu mandal and thought to revive their government school with the money they are spending on private schools. As a result all 45 students of the village joined English medium government school in their village itself. Two more volunteers were added and their salary expenses were taken care by parents.

This picture with children in uniform dress, ties and shoes is of the government school of Ontimamidipally village of Ainavolu mandal of urban Warangal district. This school was shutdown 6 years back because of no students to attend it. With the inspiration from Ralegaon village of Anna Hazare, villagers have contributed their hand from every home and together took up development activities of the school. With their personal donations, they have employed education volunteers and as a result, the school is flourishing now with 370 students.

Education with all Facilities

High school of Kambalapally village of Mahaboobabad district has been remade into a look-alike of a corporate school. Dr. Kalvakoori Chandrasekhar donated water purifying plant. Former student, Dr. Venkataramulu gifted modern digital projector. Another old student, late film music director, Chakri presented a micro projector. Just like private corporate schools, children of this school too come in school uniform, tie, belt and shoes. Mostly they were arranged by donors. Now every classroom is furnished with fans and sitting desks.

Bonakallu Primary School of Khammam district has strength of over 200 students. Computer education is being imparted here. Starting from this year, the medium of education has become English. Village sarpanch, Chava Venkateswara Rao personally sponsoring 6 months’ salary of recently hired volunteer. Villagers too came forward and contributing Rs. 3,000/- towards two more volunteers. Former students association president, Dr. Gongoora Venkateswarlu along with other donors have spent Rs. 2 lakhs and built a cultural auditorium for the school. Over the past three years, villagers donated more than Rs.1 lakh for the school anniversary program.

The High school of Narayanpur in Gangadharam mandal of Karimnagar district was closed in 2011. MPTC member Baavu Mallesam, with the inspiration from former sarpanch Mallareddy, convinced villagers and they collectively spent over Rs. 40,000 to clean up the surroundings of the school. By this, the school got reopened in last year. Now, there are over 90 students from pre-elementary to 5th grade. They arranged auto-rickshaw for transportation of children from nearby villages. The transportation charges are being borne by parents.

Digital Teaching

Digital teaching classes started 2 years ago in Nancharla of Pegadapally mandal of Jagityala district. Former students donated a projector to the school. Students started watching stories and other sports along with regular school curriculum. Locals of nearby villages Dheekonda, Ramulaplly where schools were shut down were also convinced to send their children. They arranged auto-rickshaws for children. Now school is running with 275 students, compared to last year strength of 92. All classes are taught in English medium. NRI Siddhinki Tirupati donated baby chairs for students.

40 to 200

In 2016, there were only 40 students in Charla Patel Guda Elementary school of Ibraheempatnam mandal of Rangareddy district. Sarpanch Ganesh and villagers decided to send their children to local school only. As a result strength of the school increased to 205. As there were only 4 teachers, they employed 6 more education volunteers. Their wages are being borne by sarpanch,cooperative society chairman Hanumanta Reddy and members of the school welfare committee. They have also setup library, drinking water facilities and desks with their own funding.

Source : VSK Telangana