Dr SK Pandey from Lucknow
There is yet another dangerous trend emerging in Uttar Pradesh, where educated people are converting to minority groups for the sake of benefits and privileges, which are offered to the minority educational institutions.
Indian Constitution prohibits religious conversion on the basis of force or allurement, but this is being done implicitly by the Government itself through its partisan and unjust laws. They are encouraging religious conversions by enforcing the laws, which divide the citizens as the minority and the majority, and give special privileges to the minority community in various matters.
For example, in addition to other benefits, the management committees of minority institutions are entitled to admit 50 per cent students of their choice irrespective of their merit. The fees also can be charged arbitrarily. For example, the prescribed fees for BEd and BTC courses in general colleges of UP is Rs 51000 and Rs 22,000 respectively, but in the case of minority colleges the government has no control. Thus to enjoy this monetary gain people take to the route of conversion, in order to form duly constituted management committees.
One Dr DS Singh, the manager of Amar Shaheed Kanchan Singh Degree College Khaga in Fatehpur district, converts to Buddhism and gets the certificate of minority institution from the Minority Commission, New Delhi and thus becomes entitled to the benefits above-mentioned. Similarly, Dr JN Pandey, the manager of Central Women’s College of Lucknow also converts to another religion for the sake of availing these benefits. Likewise, Citizens’ Girls Degree College Allahabad also gets minority status by similar means. There are about 15 colleges recognised recently as the minority educational institutions via allurement and these unlawful means.
There are, broadly, three benefits available to a minority educational institution that are not available to other institutions – One, Minority educational institutions are not controlled by the Government and its Departments in the matter of appointment, admission and fee structure. These institutions do not have to maintain reservation in employment or admissions for SCs, STs and OBCs as required to be done by other educational institutions. In terms of control over employees, minority educational institutions have much greater powers than other institutions. For instance, in the selection of teachers and principals the minority educational institution can have a selection committee which does not include the university representative. Similarly, while in ordinary schools the headmasters normally have to be appointed on the basis of seniority, minority managements can select a headmaster of their choice. In matters of admission of students, minority educational institutions can have a quota of 50 per cent to admit the students of their choice.
This discrimination leads to lot of resentment amongst the mainstream majority institutions, where it is felt that the government laws are dividing us and thus are detrimental to national integration and social harmony. It is very strongly being felt that such laws need to be reviewed in the light of the negative impact they are creating in the Indian society.
All these benefits emerge from Article 29 of the Constitution, which provides for protection of interests of minorities and states, saying that “any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same”.
Article 30 also provides for the right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions and states:
It is further said that “All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. The State shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language”.
The Institution desirous of obtaining Recognition as a Religious or Linguistic Minority Educational Institution, shall apply to the Competent Authority in the prescribed form indicating specifically whether they are desirous of obtaining recognition as Religious or as Linguistic Minority Educational Institution, along with photo copies of relevant documents.