While condemning the “nasty move of the central government” to strip the minority status of the Aligarh Muslim University and Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia, eight Members of Parliament belonging to eight different opposition parties said on Friday that they would launch a signature campaign and request President of India to intervene.
In a joint statement released, the MPs also said that they would raise the issue in the next session of Parliament and would “fight for the basic rights of minorities as enshrined and guaranteed in the Constitution of India”.
The eight MPs are KC Tyagi (JD-U), Sukhdev S. Roy (TMC), Pramod Tiwari (Congress), DP Tripathi (NCP), D. Raja (CPI), JP Yadav (RJD), Bhagwant Mann (AAP), and Ritabrata Banerjee (CPI-M).
“We condemn the statement of the Attorney General of India [Mukul Rohtagi] who has blatantly tried to outrage the rich tradition of Ganga-Jamuni Tahzeeb by mentioning before the Supreme Court that these two institutions are not minority institutions,” they said in the joint statement.
Attorney General Rohatgi told the Supreme Court last week that in the opinion of the government, AMU was not a minority institution. He said as the executive government at the Centre, it can’t be seen as setting up a minority institution in a secular state.
“We appeal to eminent intellectuals, civil society and all secular-minded political parties to condemn this and expose the hidden agenda to sabotage the very idea of India,” said the eight MPs in the statement. “Our next step would be to launch a signature campaign on the issue which will request the President of India to intervene on the whip of communal forces. We also pledge to raise the issue in the forthcoming session of Parliament and fight for the basic rights of minorities as enshrined and guaranteed in the Constitution of India”.
Janata Dal (U) on Monday has separately criticised the stand of the Attorney General while Congress had voiced its reservation over the government’s move.
The government, however, said that the rights of minority institutions will be protected.
Later, in an opinion tendered to the HRD Ministry, Rohtagi had said that the Jamia Millia Islamia was set up by a central Act and hence it cannot be termed as a minority institution.
Slamming the move, JD (U) General Secretary KC Tyagi had earlier alleged it was an attempt to polarise Uttar Pradesh ahead of assembly elections in the state next year.
Congress spokesperson RPN Singh voiced his party’s reservation on the move and said “status quo should be maintained as far as the current status of these institutions is concerned.” He said Congress is against changing the minority status of the two institutions.