Why Modi Govt. Wants to Withdraw Minority Status of Jamia Millia, Ask Students
They wonder if the BJP government's move is part of its pet slogan ‘Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas'
Ghazanfar Abbas, IndiaTomorrow.net,
New Delhi, Aug 15: Since the BJP-led central government has indicated to withdraw its existing support to the minority status of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), students of the university are looking at the government move as an attempt to keep Muslims away from higher education. Students are also asking if the BJP government's move is part of its pet slogan ‘Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas'.
Last week, the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry had hinted that it would file a fresh affidavit in the Delhi High Court where a case of university's minority status is pending that granting minority status to JMI by National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) in February 2011 was legally incorrect. As JMI is a central university, its religious minority status should be withdrawn.
While talking to IndiaTomorrow.net, several students said that government's argument is bogus and is aimed at targeting particularly Muslim minority institutions. JMI, they said, has been enjoying the status of a university as well as Muslim minority institution since much before it was accorded as central university.
"Since BJP came to power, Jamia Millia's minority status has been on its target. JMI was formed during Khilafat movement for providing education to Muslims. Chancellor Najma Heptulla should understand this well as she is grand niece of country's first Education Minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad who also had many contributions for Jamia," Shamsee Mustafa, a student of MA (Social Exclusion) said.
"If the government wants to remove minority reservations from Jamia, it should remove all kinds of reservations from all educational institutions," he demanded.
Another student Ateeb Khan, who is pursuing Masters in Media Governance, wondered: "Since Modi Ji talked about ‘Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas', I thought more universities like AMU and Jamia would be opened. Instead of doing this, the government wants to remove these institutions themselves."
"This is a political move to keep Muslims away from education. If government wants to remove minority status of Jamia then it should do it for all minority institutions," he averred.
Some students questioned that other religious minority institutions have also quota for the respective communities but no controversy arises in those cases.
"Other minority institutions also provide quota for respective communities but no controversies arise there. It seems Govt. targeting only Muslims' minority institutions even though Sachar report said Muslims are backward," Khushboo Khan, student of MA (Sociology), said.
"Now where has BJP's slogan "Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas" gone?" she asked.
Basit Abdullah pursuing MA in Economics also sees the government's intention as one to institutionally weaken the minorities.
"Since the BJP came to power everybody is feeling that minority is under threat. Recently, even former Vice President Hamid Ansari also said this. BJP is trying to institutionally breakdown the minorities," Abdullah said.
"The minority character of Jamia Millia or AMU should be preserved and huge investment should also be made to improve them," he appealed.
Terming government's move as anti-students a student Laraib Neyazi asked, "Jamia is central university through an Act of Parliament. How can govt. remove Jamia's minority status?
"Rather to withdraw its minority status it should increase facilities and infrastructure here," he said.
Jamia Millia and Its Minority Status
According to Section 2 (o) of Jamia Millia Act, the university was established by Muslim nationalist leaders in 1920 at Aligarh in response to Mahatma Gandhi's call to boycott all educational institutions supported or run by the colonial (British) regime. Later in 1925, it was shifted to Delhi. In 1962, the University Grants Commission (UGC) granted Jamia a status of deemed university. Much later, in 1988, it was accorded as central university by an Act of Parliament.
By the 2011order of NCMEI, a quasi judicial body, JMI got the status of a religious minority institution entitling it to reserve the seats for the Muslim candidates. In pursuance of the order, Jamia has made a reservation of 50% seats in each course for Muslim candidates -- 30% for general category Muslims, 10% for Muslim women and 10% for Muslim OBCs & STs candidates as notified under the central government. Rest 50% seats are open for all other communities.
Talking about the legal status of the university, Prof. Tabrez Alam Khan, former Secretary of Jamia Teachers' Association (JTA) said, "The case of minority status of Jamia is pending before the Delhi High Court and the matter is sub judice. We have full faith in the judiciary and sincerely hope that justice will be done. Our case is strong from the legal point of view."