Union Minister for Minority Affairs K. Rahman Khan, who sought to play down the controversy over the proposed Tipu Sultan university at Srirangapatna, said here on Saturday that he was awaiting the S. Thorat-headed expert committee report, which was appointed by his Ministry to delve into various aspects of setting up five minority universities in the country, including the Tipu University.

Mr. Khan, who arrived here to take part in a function organised by the New Muslim Hostel management here, told presspersons the report was expected before February 25 and the issue would be discussed after that. The Sam Pitroda-led National Knowledge Commission had recommended that India needed 1,500 more universities by 2020. The Centre wants India to become the ‘knowledge capital’ of the world, attracting students from across the world, the Minister said. Proposals to set up as many as 600 universities were before the Centre, including 300 in the private sector. Achieving progress in the education sector was vital for the growth of the nation, he said.

On Afzal Guru

To a question on Afzal Guru who was hanged on Saturday for his hand in the 2001 Parliament attack, Mr. Khan said “he was a criminal” and needed to be hanged. Criminals waging war against the country would find no place. He clarified that the issue had nothing to do with the Muslim community. On the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir over the issue, Mr. Khan said the State government would handle the matter.

“The State Budget has no meaning,” Mr. Khan quipped, saying that the budget presented on Friday would have life only till the present dispensation remained in office.