Urvashi Sarkar

NEW DELHI: If reservations for Other Backward Classes are implemented at Jamia Millia Islamia, the institute would not be able to function as a minority institution, said former Jamia Teachers' Association president Dr. N.U. Khan here on Thursday.

“While OBC reservations constitute 27 per cent, reservations for the SCs and the STs are 22.5 per cent. The 50 per cent seats meant for the general category cannot be disturbed. In such a scenario, how will students from our community get admission?” he asked at a press conference.

While Jamia has already implemented SC/ST reservations, it has not implemented OBC reservations yet. “It is like a sword hanging above us,” said Dr. Khan.

According to him, the Government should affirm that Jamia is a minority educational institution under Article 30(1) of the Constitution and at least 50 per cent in all courses of Jamia should be reserved for students belonging to the Muslim community.

According to the Sachar Committee report, the condition of Muslims was worse than even of Dalits. Recommendations had been made that educational institutes should be established for the Muslims. “Jamia already exists as an institute. All that has to be done is to declare us a minority institute,” said Dr. Khan.

In response to arguments that had been voiced against the proposal to declare Jamia a minority institute, he said: “St. Stephen's College and Khalsa College are both minority institutions. They are top of the line and students flock to them for admission. The other argument is that Jamia students will not get job placements once they have the tag of studying in a Muslim minority institute. These are precisely the kind of attitudes that we have to fight in our country.”

Advocate Tariq Siddiqui, who is helping the supporters of minority status for Jamia, said: “It is a myth that once an institute obtains minority status, it becomes communal in nature. Jamia has always had a very secular character and has contributed to a mutual understanding of different cultures and faiths.”

Asked whether support had been sought from political parties on the issue, Jamia Minority Status Coordination Committee convenor Ilyas Malik said: “We have received positive response from all sides. Nobody has questioned our demand.”

“The founding Act of Jamia does not state that it is not a minority institution,” he added.

A resolution passed by the Committee also states that Jamia is a minority institute under Article 30 (1) of the Constitution and should not be compelled to implement the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006.