NEW DELHI: An eminent umbrella body of Muslim organisations has strongly condemned the Narendra Modi government’s move to oppose the minority character of Jamia Millia Islamia in the court.
“Such attempts not only totally negate but also expose the hollowness of the avowed slogan of the Government led by PM Narendra Modi that there should be ‘sab ka vikaas and sab ka saath’,” said Navaid Hamid, President, All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat (AIMMM).
Earlier this month, the central BJP government filed an affidavit in the Delhi High Court changing the stand taken by the previous government (of Congress-led UPA). The BJP government opposed the minority character of Jamia Millia on the ground that it was made university through an act of Parliament.
In 2011, the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) had awarded minority status to Jamia Millia holding that “Jamia was founded by the Muslims for the benefit of Muslims and it never lost its identity as a Muslim minority educational institution”, and was, therefore, “covered under Article 30(1), read with Section 2(g) of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions Act”. But it was challenged in the Delhi High Court.
In August that year, then HRD Ministry, under Congress leader Kapil Sibal, had submitted an affidavit in the High Court stating that the government “respects the declaration made by NCMEI”.
Hamid condemned “attempts being made to compromise the minority status of educational institutions including that of Jamia Millia Islamia which have already been so certified” by the NCMEI.
In January 2016, the Modi government had opposed the minority character of Aligarh Muslim University in the Supreme Court.
In his statement AIMMM president also criticized the current administration of Jamia for not strongly pursuing the case in the court.
“What is more surprising, as is evident from order dated 13.3.2018, that NO COUNSEL advocate appeared for and on behalf of the Jamia Milia Islamia to espouse the cause of its minority status resulting an adverse order being so passed. Such negligence, whether motivated or coincidental, is seriously culpable that an issue of paramount importance relating to a Muslim minority institution was dealt with so casually,” Hamid said.
He sought “an immediate explanation as to how failure occurred on the part of the Jamia Millia Islamia officials including its Vice Chancellor and the registrar in failing to appear and pursue the matter.”
Hamid said that AIMMM, which is the umbrella body of 18 prominent Muslim organisations including Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind and Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, has decided to intervene in the matter “for the larger good of the education of Muslims and also for safeguarding the minority character of Jamia Millia Islamia.”
Hamid, former Member of National Integration Council, apprehended that “the cause of Jamia Millia Islamia may be unceremoniously compromised by vested elements.”
Jamia Millia Islamia, which was established in 1920, is the second largest minority institution in the country after the Aligarh Muslim University, which was founded in 1875 but became university in 1920.