Jamia’s minority status won’t make it a madrassa – VC

Minority status for Jamia Millia Islamia will not change the secular nature of the 90-year-old university, says Vice Chancellor Najeeb Jung. “This is not going to change the secularist nature of the university. It is not fair to think that the minority status given to the institution will lead to ghettoization in any form,” Jung said in an interview. “In fact, this will be a boost to Muslim education in the country. It is not in any way going to make us a mullah or madrassa form of educational institution,” Jung added, referring to speculation in political and university circles. The university board is in the process of studying the judgment by the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) that granted it “minority institution” status. “The university has always had a commitment to national goals of social justice and secular ideals. It will continue to uphold these in the future too,” Jung asserted, adding the authorities were working out the modalities of its implementation. NCMEI on Tuesday granted “minority institution” status to Jamia Millia Islamia, giving it the right to reserve up to 50 percent of seats for Muslims. “Jamia students should not be worried about the integrity and status of the institute. We will be consistent on the quality, and the minority status will be an advantage for us in the days to come,” Jung explained. “I haven't seen any communal or political disturbance happening in the campus in the last few days. And I had told my students to embrace the judgment whatever way it comes,” he added. The university also held a meeting of the governing body, announcing the status formally. “We have just got the judgment and announced it. Now the decision lies with the human resource and development (HRD) ministry to finally give a nod to the judgment,” Jung said. The university currently has 22.5 percent reservation for Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes, 25 percent quota for students from the Jamia school irrespective of religion and three percent quota for the physically handicapped. The NCMEI judgment put to end the almost five-year-long case on a petition filed by the Jamia Students' Union, the Jamia Old Boys' Association and the Jamia Teachers' Association in 2006 contending the university was a minority institution and not obliged to implement any other quota following the government decision to implement 27 percent reservation for other backward classes (OBCs) in the university. The Confederation of Muslim Educational Institutions of India was an intervening party while the vice chancellor of the university, the human resource development ministry and the minority affairs ministry were the respondents.