New Delhi: A senior Congress leader today backed minority tag for AMU and sought to substantiate his stance saying Parliament itself had approved the word ‘Muslim’ in the varsity’s name underscoring its character as it had “in the case of Banaras Hindu University (BHU)”.
“If it (AMU) was not a minority institution, why would Parliament name it as a Muslim University and why the Banaras University was named as Banaras Hindu University?”
” because of historic reasons. One was established for Muslims, the other for Hindus. Both have become modern, you will find non-Hindus at BHU and Hindus in AMU (though),” former Union Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar said.
Aiyar made the remarks during a seminar ‘Educational Rights of Minorities – A Litmus Test for Justice’ organised by Welfare Party of India (WPI) here.
He noted “some people” have objected to use of word Muslim in the name of AMU and dismissed the same saying retaining the varsity’s name will not “cause harm” to anyone even as he urged Supreme Court and NDA Government to not look at the issue with “narrow” point of view.
Aiyar stressed that there is a need for protecting religious identities of all individuals if all communities are to “co-exist” in the country.
He also made a strong pitch for providing “proper” basic training to children from minority communities in line with Right to Education Act brought in by UPA for their upliftment.
The seminar was attended by its president SQR Ilyas, ex-MP Pramod Kureel, civil right activist John Dayal, South Asia Human Rights Documentation Center director Ravi Nair, Jamaat-e-Islami-Hind secretary Mohammed Rafat, Jamiat Ulema Hind secretary Niyaz Ahmed Farooqi and senior Swaraj Abhiyan volunteer Anand Kumar.
During his speech, Ilyas said extending special consideration to minorities in socio-educational field is not appeasement but strengthening the body of the nation by empowering its “weak” organs and giving a balanced growth.
“Article 30 (1) of Constitution gives all religious and linguistic minorities right to setup and run educational institutes of their choice including schools, colleges and universities. It is a fundamental right and not bracketed by any ifs and buts,” he added.
Kureel, Nair,Dayal, Rafat, Farooqi and Kumar also addressed the seminar.