The former chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Sukhadeo Thorat-headed expert committee constituted by the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs to go into various aspects of the five minority universities proposed to be set up by the Centre will submit its report by February 15.

The proposed Tipu Sultan University at Srirangapatna is one of five minority universities the Centre plans to set up.

Speaking to The Hindu over phone, Prof. Thorat, who is now chairman of the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), said the seven-member committee, constituted sometime ago, had already met once. “We will meet over the next 10 days and submit a report to the Minister (for Minority Affairs K. Rahman Khan) by February 15,” he said.

The committee will look into the legalities — whether the Central varsities should be established by an Act of Parliament or as institutions of national importance — besides their affiliating character, the academic programmes, quality assessment and the location of the universities, he said.

When asked to clear the air over the nature of the minority varsity, its academic programmes and provision for reservation, particularly in view of the raging controversy over the proposed Tipu Sultan University, Prof. Thorat refused to divulge much till the committee submitted its report to the government.

The committee comprises, among others, Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Milla Islamia Najeeb Jung, Vice-Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University Lt. Gen. Zameeruddin Shah (retd.), Vice-Chancellor of Central University of Himachal Pradesh Furqan Qamar, besides the former Karnataka Chief Secretary and the former Minister J. Alexander.

Opposition

BJP leaders in Karnataka, including the Higher Education Minister C.T. Ravi, have strongly opposed the naming of the minority university after Tipu Sultan.

Mr. Rahman Khan had earlier shrugged off opposition to such a university by stating that Srirangapatna was the right place to establish a minority university named after Tipu Sultan, who had resisted the British domination of the country. He had asserted that the university would be set up on 150 acres of land.