January 13, 2016

Govt institute can’t be minority one: Irfan Habib

The Times of India

Govt institute can’t be minority one: Irfan Habib
Eram Agha | TNN | Jan 12, 2016, 10.38 PM IST
Aligarh: Asked about the Centre's submission in the Supreme Court on Monday that Aligarh Muslim University is not a minority institute, Professor Emeritus Irfan Habib said, "No government-maintained institution can be a minority institute. Only privately managed institutes can be minority institutes. We will have to see what the Supreme Court decides."

Under the law, minority institutes are allowed to reserve half their seats for candidates from their own community, Habib said. "Today, except for the medical college, there are more than 50% Muslims studying in AMU. Under minority institute status, that will not be the case," the renowned history teacher said.

University authorities, however, did not concur with Habib's view. Rahat Abrar, AMU spokesman said, "We do not agree with this view."

AMU administration on Tuesday held a joint meeting of members of AMU court, executive council, academic council and office bearers of various teaching and non-teaching bodies to take the stock of situation following the hearing of AMU's minority status case in the Supreme Court. The AMU has expressed faith in the judiciary.

Earlier, vice chancellor Lt Gen Zameer Uddin Shah too had said that minority status was a "matter of life and death" for the university.

Activist asks Prez to step in

Shehzad Poonawalla, a Delhi-based lawyer and activist, has petitioned the President Pranab Mukherjee to intervene in the matter. He has asked the President to ensure that the "minority status of AMU", accepted by the Supreme Court in 2006, is not trifled with. The petitioner has said that the President, in his capacity as Visitor of AMU, should intervene "in preventing the Central government from unleashing its communal project upon the University by denying and stealing away the minority character of the university. It is with great disgust that I bring to your attention that only under pressure from the RSS and affiliated Hindutva groups, the Central government has done a 'U turn' of its stand before the Hon'ble Supreme Court to deny AMU its minority status," he said.