A think tank with Sangh Parivar connections wants the Ministry of Human Resource Development to discontinue the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, seeing the notion of distinctive minority institutions as tantamount to “compartmentalisation” rather than unity.
The Commission was notified in November 2004.
The Centre for Policy Analysis at Patna – run by Durga Nand Jha, former editor of Swadeshi Patrika , the mouthpiece of RSS-affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch – has released an India Minority Report that says that both the apprehensions of minorities and the sensitivity of the majority community be taken into account while formulating policy.
Mr. Jha was also in the BJP’s national minorities coordination committee during the 2014 elections.
“There is no rationale for the existence of a separate wing for education of minorities such as ‘National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions’ in the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD). Aren’t such types of national level regulating bodies compartmentalising education on religious lines and weakening the national mainstream?” says the report.
“No one can deny the fact that education of minority students is important in order to build an inclusive society but it no way necessitates and justifies the separate existence of minority institutions. Therefore, this report demands discontinuance of ‘Council for Minority Educational institutions’, a body constituted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development.”
Talking to The Hindu over phone, Mr. Jha said that there was also no rationale for minority educational institutions, as everything apart from religious instruction should ideally be common.
Asked whether his institution would urge the MHRD to introduce a constitutional amendment Bill to do away with minority educational institutions, he said, “Yes, we will. The government anyway brings a constitutional amendment Bill in each session of Parliament. We must think of the long-term goal of a united society rather than one divided on religious grounds.”
Article 30 (1) of the Constitution gives religious and linguistic minorities the fundamental right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
The report says: “The India Minority Report identifies first and foremost the lacuna of the Indian state that it doesn’t have a minority policy though it has numerous programs, schemes and provisions for minorities that address their needs and concerns. The Report advocates that India must have a well-crafted minority policy, which should take into account apprehensions of all minorities and sensitivity of the majority community as well.”