ANDHRA PRADESH

Face competition and emerge stronger, Muslims told

Staff Reporter

Seminar attributes their backwardness to ignorance of things concerning community

12 hostels proposed in State for minority students Backwardness attributed to ignorance of issues

Hyderabad: The programme was intended to chalk out strategies for improving their lot. But their attendance left a lot to be desired. Members of the Muslim community were conspicuous by their thin number at the seminar held here on Saturday to discuss their situation in the light of Sachar Committee report.

Scores of chairs in the Jubilee Hall remained unoccupied. Except for Lok Satta leader Jayaprakash Narayan, most of the leaders who were to address the seminar came late. Minister for Minorities Welfare Mohd. Fareeduddin himself was late by an hour. Later, many a speaker attributed the Muslims' backwardness to their ignorance about things concerning the community.

The two-day seminar was convened by various organisations - Insaf, Awaz, PUCAAR, APMEWA, Aman Vedika.

Fee reimbursement

The Government, Mr. Fareeduddin said, had decided to reimburse the post-matric fee to a maximum of Rs. 10,000 from next academic year. If the fee is more, a loan would be extended at 3 per cent interest. A sum of Rs. 40 crores had been earmarked in the budget. Besides, 12 hostels for minority students in the State were being opened, the Minister added.

Aziz Pasha, MP, who presided, called for affirmative action to banish illiteracy and poverty from the community.

Mr. Jayaprakash Narayan ascribed the backwardness of minorities to the failure of political process. Despite Constitutional guarantees, the Government failed to provide health care and school education at zero cost,he said.

Siasat Editor Zahid Ali Khan asked the community to do self-introspection and see what it had done for itself. Instead of craving for reservation, the community should try to face competition and emerge stronger, he added.