NCBC criticizes the blanket categorization of Muslims as a backward caste in Karnataka

The Karnataka government’s decision to categorize the entire Muslim community as a backward caste for the purpose of reservation in the state has drawn criticism from the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC), which said that such blanket categorization violates the principles of social undermines justice. According to the data of the Karnataka Backward Classes Welfare Department, all castes and communities within the Muslim religion are included as socially and educationally backward classes under category IIB in the state list of backward classes.

The NCBC, during a field visit last year, examined the state’s reservation policy for OBCs in educational institutions and government jobs.

“All castes/communities of the Islamic religion of Karnataka shall be treated as socially and educationally backward classes of citizens and separately mentioned as Muslim caste under category IIB in the State List of Backward Classes, as they are given reservation in admission to educational institutions and in appointments to posts and vacancies in the services of the state under Article 15(4) and 16(4) of the Constitution of India,” the NCBC said in a statement on Monday evening.

This categorization has resulted in provision of reservation benefits to 17 socially and educationally backward castes under category I and 19 castes under category II-A respectively. The NCBC said the blanket categorization of Muslims as a backward caste undermines the principles of social justice, especially for the marginalized Muslim castes and communities identified as socially and educationally backward.

However, the NCBC emphasized that while there are indeed disadvantaged and historically marginalized sections within the Muslim community, treating the entire religion as backward ignores the diversity and complexity within Muslim society. “The religion-based reservation influences and works against the ethics of social justice for categorically oppressed Muslim castes/communities and identified socially and educationally backward Muslim castes/communities under Category-I (17 Muslim castes) and Category II-A (19 Muslim castes). Therefore, social and educationally backward castes/communities are not equated with an entire religion,” the NCBC said.

The NCBC also expressed concern about the impact of such reservations on the overall framework of social justice, especially in the context of local polls. While Karnataka provides 32 percent reservation for backward classes, including Muslims, in local body elections, the Commission emphasized the need for a nuanced approach that takes into account the diversity within these communities.


According to the 2011 census, Muslims constitute 12.92 percent of the population in Karnataka.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)

Location: Karnataka, India

first print: Apr 24, 2024 11:55 IST