Washington, Jan 28: Indian-American Muslims have appealed to President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to maintain the minority character of Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Milia Islamia, saying the move to question the status of the institutions is "discriminatory".
"In the post-independence India where the educational backwardness of Muslims has increased substantially as documented by the Sachar Committee report, AMU and Jamia have made huge contribution in shoring up higher education in the Muslim community," said Kaleem Kawaja, executive director of the Washington DC based Association of Indian Muslims of America (AIM).
He said that the recent actions of the government's Law ministry and Human Resources ministry "to oppose AMU's appeal in the Supreme Court by reversing the same central government's 2006 support to the AMU appeal is a very discriminatory and prejudiced anti-Muslim action."
"Indian-American Muslims object strongly to this action of the BJP-led government," the statement said, adding that it will end up pushing back the minority Muslims into severe educational backwardness at a time when they are already backward.
"We appeal to the President and Prime Minister of India to take quick steps to stop these discriminatory actions of the Law and HRD ministries against AMU and Jamia, reverse the said actions, and provide support to both Muslim community universities in their quest for justice," the association said in the statement.
The issue of restoration of minority character of AMU is at present pending with the Supreme Court. On January 11, Attorney General Mukul Rohatagi, during the hearing of this case, had told the court that the NDA government did not support the idea of a state-funded minority institution in a secular state, sparking off a controversy.
The Attorney General has told the government that Jamia Milia 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 to be a minority institution.