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Minority status for Jamia demanded

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United we stand: Jamia Millia Association members protesting in New Delhi on Monday demanding minority status for the university.
United we stand: Jamia Millia Association members protesting in New Delhi on Monday demanding minority status for the university.

Urvashi Sarkar

‘It is not a communal demand but a demand for social justice'

NEW DELHI: Several associations from Jamia Millia Islamia assembled at Jantar Mantar here on Monday demanding Muslim minority education status for the institution, asserting that it was not a communal demand but a demand for social justice.

There were also protests against the University Grants Commission's directive last year to implement 27 per cent reservations for the Other Backward Classes.

The UGC directive states: “…. the University may be instructed to implement the OBC reservation as mentioned in Central Educational Institutions (Reservations in Admissions) Act, 2006, immediately as it is a statutory requirement…if the university fails to comply [with] the instructions of Government of India, MHRD/UGC, the non-plan grant of JMI from the financial year 2010-11 may not be released”.

Jamia was recognised as a Central University by the Jamia Millia Islamia Act, 1988.

Supporters of minority status for Jamia have cited Section 4(c) CEI Act, 2006 (Reservation in Admission) which states that the reservations mentioned in Section 3 of the Act would not apply to minority educational institutions.

Jamia Teachers'Association president Prof. N.U. Khan said: “Though there is pressure every year to implement OBC reservations, we are still granted reprieve. OBC reservations will not be implemented in Jamia this year too. Our prospectuses are due to come out soon and there is no mention of OBC reservations in them. Yet the threat remains. The Government should remove all ambiguity and declare Jamia a minority institute.”

Jamia was not facing any grant-related problems, he added.

Elaborating on the causes for opposing OBC reservations, Jamia Teachers' Association joint secretary Bashah Alam said: “For Jamia to be a minority institute, 50 per cent reservations in admissions must be allotted to Muslim students. The Supreme Court has also ruled that more than 50 per cent of seats cannot be reserved in an institute.”

OBC reservations

“We already have in place 22.5 per cent reservations for the Scheduled Castes and Schedules Tribes. If 27 per cent reservations for OBC are implemented, we cannot have 50 per cent reservations for the minority community. Additionally if OBC reservations are implemented we stand to lose the 25 per cent internal quota for individuals from Jamia schools,” he added.

Jamia had neither general nor minority status as the Government had failed to give any clarification, Prof. Alam claimed.

About Jamia's current status, advocates of minority status have said that Jamia was established by prominent members of Muslim minority community in 1920 during the Khilafat and Non-Cooperation movement.

Objective

The main objective was to promote and provide for religious and secular education of Indians, particularly Muslims.

Students Islamic Organisation of India president Suhail K.K. said: “Thus we believe we are a minority institute under Article 30(1) of the Constitution according to which “all minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice”. He also cited Article 30(2) of the Constitution which states: “The State shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate against any educational institute on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language.”

“However, a governmental declaration or certification has not been made recognising Jamia as a minority education institute,” he added.

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