Hyderabad: Student bodies of Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) and University of Hyderabad (UoH) have called for protests against the Union government’s decision to discontinue the Maulana Azad National Fellowship (MANF) for minorities from 2022-23.
The Azad United Students Federation (AUSF) of MANUU and several student bodies of UoH have given protest calls at their respective universities condemning the Union government’s move.
AUSF condemned the decision by the Centre claiming that the Modi-led government has neglected the educational sector and especially the educational infrastructure pertaining to minorities (Muslims).
They condemned the move, calling it an “attack on the minority students” who were funded by the ‘ministry of minority affairs’ to pursue higher education.
Student bodies at UoH have called for the effigy burning of Union Minority Affairs Minister Smriti Irani to protest the move.
“Narendra Modi-led BJP government has decided to discontinue the fellowship. This will lead to exclusion of the already under-represented minority communities in academic spaces. This is the latest, in a series of steps of the Union government, hell bent on destroying public education in India,” read a poster, put out by several student bodies of UoH, calling for the protest.
On Thursday, Smriti Irani told Lok Sabha that the decision to discontinue the fellowship was made since MANF overlaps with various other schemes.
While replying to a query by Tamil Nadu’s Prathapan MP in Lok Sabha, Smriti Irani said, “Since the MANF scheme overlaps with various other fellowship schemes for higher education being implemented by the Government and minority students are already covered under such schemes, hence the government has decided to discontinue the MANF Scheme from 2022-23.
“The MANF scheme was implemented by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and as per the data provided by UGC 6,722 candidates were selected under the scheme between 2014-15 and 2021-22 and fellowships to the tune of ₹ 738.85 crores were distributed during the same period,” she added.