Govt must protect AMU’s minority character: NRIs

Riyadh, KSA

The Indian government is duty bound to protect the minority character of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), prominent non-resident Indians (NRIs) said during a solidarity conference here on Saturday. The event, organized by the Bihar International Society for Welfare and Solidarity (BISWAS-Riyadh), underlined Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” (everyone’s support, everyone’s progress) while making the demand.

Prominent NRIs, community leaders representing various voluntary organizations and many senior and prominent old boys of AMU attended the conference and called for an action plan with the help of a coordination committee of senior NRIs to save the AMU.

The AMU is a minority institution established by great social reformer Sir Syed Ahmad Khan for modern education of Indian Muslims and currently ranks among the top ten universities in India. The federal government recently submitted papers in the Supreme Court saying that the AMU is not a minority institution.

Mohammad Quaiser, president of Tanzeem Hum Hindustani; Mukhtar Khan, BISWAS president; Akhtarul Islam, BISWAS general secretary; Murshid Kamal, convenor of India Islamic Culture Center (IICC); Suhail Ahmad, AMUOBA-Riyadh president; Misbahul Arefin, AIRS-president; and veteran Alig Tariq Masood asserted that the assault on the historic minority character of AMU is contrary to what we are guaranteed by our Constitution under Article 30 — protection of the rights of religious and ethnic minorities.

Notably, Article 30 upholds the rights of religious and linguistic minorities “to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice” as well as directs the government to ensure that the minority rights do not get abrogated in case of compulsory acquisition of educational institutions run by minorities.

The speakers at the solidarity conference advocated media diplomacy, that is approaching media persons from English, Hindi and Urdu newspapers and electronic media to put up their genuine demands, while having full faith in the Indian judiciary.

Mohammad Qaiser said, “It is very important to fight for justice as the BJP government’s move is a death knell for the last citadel of our higher education.” Akhtarul Islam said, “At any cost, we cannot afford to let the AMU go from our hands. Be it AMU or Jamia Millia, Indian Muslims look with so much of expectations as other central universities apply the quota system where Muslims hardly get admission.”

The resolution passed at the meeting said: “We urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee, also the visitor of the university, to help protect the minority character of the AMU as it would have a very salutary effect on Indian Muslims, who are agitated and apprehensive that their rights are being curtailed.”

“Doing so, it will have a positive effect in further binding the minorities in the national mainstream,” it added. A copy of the resolution will be sent to the prime minister and the president.