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Chancellor defends AMU reservation

Special Correspondent

``50 per cent reservation is to help weaker sections of Muslims''

  • NDA government gave the AMU minority status after it agreed to join common entrance tests
  • 50 per cent reservation to help weaker sections of Muslims
  • It would restore the all-India character of the AMU, says Chancellor

    NEW DELHI: The Chancellor of the Jamia Hamdard, Saiyid Hamid, has defended the reservation of 50 per cent seats for Muslims in Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) on grounds that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government had granted a similar concession to his university last year.

    The previous dispensation was prepared to allow 50 per cent reservation for Muslims in AMU before it demitted office, "but it appears" that AMU could not fulfil one of the conditions laid down by the Centre, Mr. Hamid told The Hindu .

    "The brouhaha raised by the forces of Hindutava at what they had missed doing while in power has heavy political undertones. It is not long ago that the NDA, whose major partner is the Bharatiya Janata Party, accorded minority status to the Jamia Hamdard authorising it to serve 50 per cent of the seats for Muslims," said Mr. Hamid, a AMU Vice-Chancellor for five years. Mr. Hamid said the NDA government gave his university minority status after it agreed to join the common entrance tests.

    `A pity'

    "It is indeed a pity that anything uttered against the AMU finds unthinking acceptance. Its effort to secure proper representation for Muslims is being dubbed as communalism. The community should be allowed to be represented in professions and given the exhilarating feeling of participating in the development of their country," said Mr. Hamid, who became AMU Vice-Chancellor in the early eighties after retiring from the Indian Administrative Service.

    The educationist said several studies including the latest census had revealed the growing backwardness of the Muslim community and it is in this context that the Prime Minister had recently set up a high level committee to determine the educational, social and economic status of Indian Muslims. Mr. Hamid is a member of Steering Committee on the Empowerment of scheduled castes, other backward classes and minorities set up by the Planning Commission for the formulation of the Tenth Five-Year Plan.

    "The fact that the Indian Muslims have been unable to keep pace with the development of our country is of concern for all those who have the country's good at heart. It is therefore painful to learn that a section of the Indian society has started a campaign against the revamping of the admission policy by university bodies. It is curious that the extreme right and a section of the Left are locked in a bear hug on this issue."

    Mr. Hamid said the intention behind the AMU Executive Council's decision, later endorsed by the Union Human Resource Development Ministry, was to help the weaker sections among the minority community from all over the country.

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