Pune: AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Wednesday demanded job reservation for Muslims in Maharashtra and also called for speeding up the trial of cases against members of the minority community, claiming they were being falsely implicated on terror charges.
"We are not against reservation for Marathas. They too should get it. But why are Muslims being left out. Our children should also become IAS and IPS officers, doctors and engineers. That's why we demand reservation," the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen leader said.
He was addressing a gathering of 'Muslim Arakshan Parishad' to demand reservation for the community.
"Even the courts have accepted that Muslims are backward. Give reservation to Marathas but don't forget Muslims," the MP from Hyderabad said.
Owaisi, whose party won two seats in the Maharashtra assembly polls in its maiden outing last year and is planning to expand its influence in the state, said despite Muslims constituting 11 per cent of the population none from the community was occupying any top post in the government.
Lamenting poor representation of Muslims in the state police, Owaisi said, "Our boys are rotting in jails. There is a large percentage of Muslims in Maharashtra's jails. There is no representation of Muslims in police."
Claiming that Muslims were being falsely implicated in terror cases, he said, "Mr Prime Minister, NIA and ATS are in your hands. BJP chief Amit Shah can be discharged from Prajapati encounter case in seven months, but the Malegaon blasts case drags on for years."
Asserting that the community is as patriotic as any other, he said,"We too fought against the British and our love for our country is the same as others. Do not belittle our love for our motherland. I am proud of being a Muslim, but that does not mean I do not love my country. I am a proud Muslim. Is this (being a Muslim) a criterion for making me a non-Indian?"
Taking at a dig at Bollywood Sanjay Dutt for flaunting his six-pack abs during his recent release on furlough, the AIMIM leader said while the state was busy extending "preferential" treatment to the actor, children of Muslims had to "rot" in jail for years.
"When our children are being falsely implicated in cases, why should we keep quiet? Sanjay Dutt is building six pack abs sitting in a Maharashtra jail, while our children are rotting there for years. When you do not have proof against them, why don't you let them go?" Owaisi said.
Before Owaisi's speech, Shiv Sena workers staged a noisy protest outside the venue of the gathering at the Kauser Baug in Kondhwa where police had allowed the gathering with several riders.