Taking cognizance of the report published by The Hindu on Monday indicating low Muslim representation in this year's admission to nursery classes in Delhi's private schools, the National Commission for Minorities has said that it will urgently look into the matter and take action.
National Commission for Minorities chairman Wajahat Habibullah said: “We have got a copy of the letter submitted to Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on the issue and we will examine the matter. It appears as per the report that the minorities are not receiving the benefit of the various policies put in place for their welfare. It is a serious allegation and needs to be scrutinised.”
The matter was raised in the Rajya Sabha during the day by Lok Janshakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan.
Ms. Dikshit, however, shot down the allegation saying that neither government schools nor prominent private schools have ever refused admission to Muslims.
“On reading the report in The Hindu, I asked my office if they had received any letter and was told that one had come in the morning.”
“I have collected all the information and there is nothing like what has been alleged. What they [Lok Janshakti Party] have said are things which are not actually true.''
Claiming that reputed schools like St. Mary's, Presentation Convent and St. Francis have never refused admission to minorities, Ms. Dikshit said: “We have got 16 per cent of the seats filled with Muslim students. Plus, we have students studying in madrassas and they are never refused admission in any of the government schools.”
She, however, pointed out that schools follow the neighbourhood criteria in granting admissions and added: “I will be coming out with a more detailed reply on the entire issue on Tuesday.”
Mr. Paswan said: “Low representation of Muslim students in Delhi's private schools is a serious issue and we have asked the government to take up the matter and have it examined. The fact that as many as 20 private schools in the capital have no Muslim student and over 17 have only one is something that has us worried. Members of the Muslim community have been complaining to us about the discrimination. We also want to highlight the fact that not just Muslims but also SCs/STs/ OBCs are often ignored.”
Stating that they would take up the matter with Union Minister for Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal and Ms. Dikshit, Nationalist Congress Party general secretary Tariq Anwar said: “The issue was raised in Parliament and we want to register our strong protest against the ‘biased' manner in which nursery admission seats are allotted in the capital. It is unacceptable that minorities are treated so shabbily here in the heart of the country.”
Keywords: Muslim children's school admission