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April 03, 2011

Page: 2/41

Home >2011 Issues >April 03, 2011

Minority status for Centre-funded Jamia
The decline of secularism as minorityism

Hindus robbed of seats in Jamia Millia too

By OP Gupta, IFS (Retd)

IN December 1988 the Jamia Millia Islamia University was elevated to the status of a ‘Central’ University by an Act of Parliament. As a Central University it has been offering constitutionally guaranteed 22.5 per cent reservations to SC & ST Hindus in educational seats and employment; and, steps to introduce 27 per cent reservation for OBC Hindus were in the process. But on February 22, 2011 Hindus were robbed of these reservations without having been given any hearing as on this date, when Jamia was declared a Muslim minority institution.

On February 22, 2011 the three-member National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) comprising Justice MSA Siddiqui, Chairman, Dr Mohinder Singh (Sikh) and Dr Cyriac Thomas (Christian) ruled: "we have no hesitation in holding that the Jamia was founded (in 1920) by the Muslims for the benefit of Muslims and it never lost its identity as a Muslim minority institution and we find and hold that the Jamia Millia Islamia is a minority educational institution covered under Art 30(1)."

In arriving at its above decision behind the back of the Hindu community the Commission failed to take notice of some fundamental changes which have taken place since 1920 such as: in 1920 Hindus were second class ‘subjects’ of British India, and; that, in 1920 no part of taxes collected from Hindus was diverted to Jamia Millia.

The 2009-10 budget of Jamia was about Rs 300 crores most of which is financed by the Central Government out of taxes paid by we Hindus. Student fee collected by Jamia was only about Rs 40 lakhs and total revenue of Jamia is in range of only about Rs 11 crores.

The minority status, the first of any kind to be given to any Central University, will allow Jamia Millia the right to reserve up to 50 per cent seats for Muslims. "No other reservation would be binding on the university," said counsel for the petitioners Tarique Siddiqui, citing Article 15(5) of the Constitution.

So after February 22, 2011 Jamia, a Central University will reserve at least 50 per cent of seats only for Muslim applicants and no more any reservations for OBCs, SC and ST Hindus, both in educational seats and employment. Covered with tag of minority institution, Hindu candidates with better CV may be denied promotions and appointments in favour of Muslim candidates with minimum qualifications as happens in other minority institutions.

It is most unfortunate that a Central University in secular India has for the first time been given communal tag raising the debate why should a secular state finance an institution with communal tag, and why taxes collected from Hindus be used to prop up and sustain minority institutions.

Flowing from the principles of natural justice and fair play it is the law of land that a statutory body must invite objections from all those parties which are likely to be adversely affected by its orders as in this case Hindus were enjoying 22.5 per cent reservations over last so many years. Constitutional rights of SC, ST and OBC Hindus in Jamia additionally supported by long usage have been dismissed ex-parte and unlawfully showing total contempt against Hindus nurtured by the Congress Government. Hindu voters may note that no Hindu politician has come forward to protest this assault on Hindus except shedding few crocodile tears.

There are about 7000 educational seats in Jamia so till February 22, 2011 SC Hindus had 1050 seats reserved for them and ST Hindus had 525 seats reserved for them. There are many technical seats in Jamia such as B.Ed (200 seats), 70 seats each in BE and BTech in all branches of engineering etc. Hindu students of NCR Delhi lost these reservations primarily because of connivance of Kapil Sibal, a Hindu Parliamentarian from Delhi.

The Jamia Teachers’ Association, Jamia Old Boys’ Association and Jamia Students’ Union were main petitioners before the Commission with no Hindu being there in the Commission as a Member to defend interests of Hindu community. Showing its anti-Hindu policy Congress Government of Manmohan Singh has framed rules of this Commission in 2004 which provide exclusion of Hindus from being made members of this Commission.

Petitioners’ main demand was to declare Jamia Millia Islamia a minority institution covered under Art 30(1) of the 1950 Constitution of India. The Jamia Students Union further sought directions to the University to admit atleast 50 per cent students from the Muslim community; to provide religious and secular education to Muslim students. Petitioners claim has been that in October 1920 Jamia was founded by Maulana Mohemmad Jauhar and Hakim Ajmal Khan as they wanted the Muslims to keep their education in their own hands entirely free from (British) Governmental interference.

Congress Party with help of some Muslims has been trying to bring back pre-1947 conditions when we Hindus were second class 'subjects' under the British and the Mughals in the post-independence era. Congress Party is thus cheating on its Hindu voters.

Respondents/Defending parties before this Commission were Vice Chancellor of the Jamia University; Secretary, Ministry of Human Resources Development (HRD); and, Secretary, Ministry of Minority Affairs. The Ministry of HRD disregarding its obligations to Hindu Youth did not oppose this demand; it only suggested the Commission to defer the matter till the Supreme Court decided the Aligarh Muslim University case. The Ministry of Minority Affairs did not oppose the petitions.

SM Afzal, the then Registrar of the Jamia Millia Islamia University in his affidavit of October 13, 2006 had opposed the main demand of petitioners asserting that it was not a minority institution. Reversing this position, the present Registrar SM Sajid filed an affidavit before the Commission fully supporting the case of petitioners relating to its minority status. Thus the conspiracy of the Congress Party and gang up of petitioner Muslims and defendant Muslims against interests of Hindu students was complete and declaration by the Commission on February 22, 2011 was only a formality.

Human Resource Development Ministry officials told the Hindustan Times that the government would not appeal against the NCMEI order. This offers another proof of the connivance of the UPA Government in robbing Hindus of reservations in the Jamia Millia Islamia University.

NCMEI was originally not empowered to take such a decision as its Act initially stated that a minority educational institution meant a college or institution (other than a university) established or maintained by a person or group of persons from among the minorities. Subsequently, Kapil Sibal as HRD Minister in Manmohan Singh Government brought out an amendment in May 2010 to the NCMEI Act, allowing the statutory body to award minority status to universities too.

Many Muslims were and are against this verdict fearing further ‘ghettoisation of Muslims’ and further widening of gulf between Hindus and Muslim communities.

In February 2010 many professors of Jamia wrote (statement of Jamia Teachers' Solidarity Association): "The crucial thing to discuss is if minority interests will be served better by granting minority status or by retaining Jamia as its founders visualised that is, a university that will have a stake in the national mainstream. Jamia was envisaged as a space of higher learning and critical thinking against the insularity and isolationism of all kinds. The demand for minority status vitiates that glorious history of Jamia as a secular inclusive space. ------.We caution the government not to perpetuate the politics of minorityism while abandoning the cause of minority rights".

Incumbent Jamia Vice-Chancellor Najeeb Jung has welcomed the February 22, 2011 verdict though his predecessor, Mushirul Hasan, was opposed to the minority status, arguing that the standard of the University would deteriorate.

Secretary General of the Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO) PM Salih along with a delegation met the Vice Chancellor Najeeb Jung and congratulated him on the achievement and all those who put their efforts in attaining the minority status of Jamia Millia Islamia. Jung expressed his gratitude in the support shown by SIO on the issue of the minority status of JMI

The Aligarh Muslim University Vice Chancellor Prof PK Abdul Azis has also welcomed the decision of the NCMEI. Prof Azis said that conferment of minority status on an institution founded by Muslims with a view to educate Muslim was a long pending demand and said that Jamia Millia Islamia rightfully deserved the minority status. "It is a landmark judgment and benefit the case of AMU minority status pending in the Supreme Court of India," he added.

Hindu parents who were planning to get their wards admitted in Jamia against reserved seats stand cheated by Jaichandi politician like Kapil Sibal. Hindu voters who do not want to harm career prospects of their own or of their children and grandchildren must never cast their votes in favour of Congress Party or any Jaichandi party/politician.

[The writer belongs to 1971 batch of Indian Foreign]

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