Calicut varsity again courts controversy with ‘ST-Muslim’ category

The mention of ‘Scheduled Tribe-Muslim’ during the data collection for PhD candidates at the University of Calicut has again led to the accusation that reservation norms are being violated in the process.

Muslim category students can enter their details in ‘Muslim’, ‘ST Muslim’ and ‘General’ sections in the portal prepared for the collection of data. A similar usage was noticed during the admissions to postgraduate courses in teaching departments of the university in November last year. The authorities later washed their hands of the controversy blaming it on the technical team that developed the software for the Directorate of Admissions.

P. Rasheed Ahammed, Syndicate member, told The Hindu on Saturday that this should not be seen as a mere mistake as it would have far-reaching consequences in society. “It could lead to denial of rights of SC/ST communities. Secondly, it will lead to the propaganda that the university is unfairly handing over the rights of the ST community to the Muslim community,” he said. Students from the SC/ST categories are eligible for a reservation of 22% in PhD admissions.

“The Muslim community should not be given any undeserved or illegal benefit. Moreover. there is no such section as ST among Muslims. The attempt of the university to establish the existence of caste system among Muslims should be stopped. This happens because each directorate or department or branch develops their own rules, violating the existing ones,” Mr. Ahammed said in a letter to the Vice Chancellor.

Sources in the Registrar’s office said that the category must have been used to refer to students from Lakshadweep. “It could be just an attempt to distinguish them from others,” they added. Students from the islands are given 8% reservation at the university.

Mr. Ahammed, however, pointed out that the students from the islands get reservation benefits not because of their religious status but as residents of that particular place. “A narrative is being created that Muslims are snatching away the reservation benefits of the STs. I will raise it at the next Syndicate meeting,” he added.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2022 12:53:07 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/calicut-varsity-again-courts-controversy-with-st-muslim-category/article65391734.ece