New Delhi :
To scale up its offensive against the Modi government on the issue of minority status to AMU and JMI, opposition parties have decided to approach some NDA allies, who were earlier constituents of the United Front, as they plan to corner the government in Parliament during the Budget Session.
MPs from Congress, Trinamool Congress, JD(U), RJD, NCP, CPI, CPI(M) and AAP had on Friday issued a joint statement condemning the government’s move to “strip” Aligarh Muslim University and Jamila Millia Islamia of their minority status.
They will now seek to forge a larger unity on the issue in Parliament when the Budget Session convenes next month.
“We will try to take on board some of the NDA allies like Akali Dal, TDP, AGP, PDP and TRS. Many of them were with us during the United Front days and share the same view on such issues,” JD(U) general secretary K C Tyagi told PTI.
Tyagi said efforts are on to ensure the issue is raised in a big way during the Budget Session so as to “prevent” the government from “taking away” the minority status of JMI and AMU.
A meeting of MPs sharing a common view on this matter will also be held before the Budget Session to chalk out the strategy, the JD(U) leader said.
Tyagi said that apart from MPs from the eight parties, which have signed the joint statement, “Indian National Lok Dal has also decided to support us. We will now try to reach out to some NDA allies”. He said the issue is a “larger one” and “not confined only to the minority status of JMI and AMU.”
Linking the recent outrage and political protests over the suicide of a Dalit student in Hyderabad University to it, Tyagi said the issue is about the autonomy of institutions.
“Be it Jamia or Aligarh Muslim University or for that matter the issue of appointment of Vice Chancellors in Delhi University and JNU, the government has reflected the same attitude. It is up to usurp their autonomy.
“The sad outcome of it is the Hyderabad incident. We will oppose such a tendency tooth and nail,” said the JD(U) MP. “We will meet President Pranab Mukherjee on the issue of AMU and Jamia during Budget session itself and submit him a list of signatures against the governments’ move. We will carry out a signature campaign during the Budget Session itself,” he added.
Tyagi had earlier this month written to the President and Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding scrapping of the search
committee set up to recommend names for the Vice Chancellor of Delhi University, alleging “high-handedness” and “serious violations” of norms and procedures.
He had also submitted a note on “violations of the statutes of Delhi University and JNU in the appointment of the Vice Chancellor” and termed it a “challenge to the autonomy” of institutes of higher learning.
In the joint statement on the issue of minority status for AMU and Jamia, MPs had expressed their “displeasure and deep concern” against the “nasty” move of the central government to “strip” them of their minority status.
The MPs had also condemned the statement of the Attorney General Mukhul Rohtagi that the two are not minority institutions.
In the joint statement, they had pledged 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,” and decided to reach out to “all secular-minded political parties”.
The Attorney General has told the government that Delhi-based Jamia Millia Islamia is not a minority institution as it was created by an Act of Parliament, days after he told the Supreme Court that the legislature never intended the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) to be a minority institution.
The HRD Ministry had approached the Law Ministry seeking an opinion on the issue. The Law Ministry had then asked the AG for his legal opinion.
Rohatgi had also told the apex court around a fortnight back that in the opinion of the government, AMU was not a minority institution. He said the government cannot be seen as setting up a minority institution in a secular state.