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Indian-Americans Appeal to the President and Prime Minister to Ensure Minority Character for AMU and Jamia Milia

ASSOCIATION OF INDIAN MUSLIMS OF AMERICA
P.O. Box 10654, Silver Spring, MD 20914

Indian-Americans Appeal to the President and Prime Minister to Ensure Minority Character for AMU and Jamia Milia

Washington DC:  In a statement released today, Kaleem Kawaja the Executive Director of the Washington DC based Association of Indian Muslims of America (AIM), an NGO of people from India who live in North America, pledged full support to the managements of the Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh and Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi as thy strive to ensure that the Indian government recognizes their status as universities of and for India's Muslim minority.   

Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) was established in 1875 by India's Muslim community as the Mohammadan Anglo Oriental College and then elevated to university level in 1920.  Almost all of the financing to build the college and the university were contributed by the Muslim community.  The then British Indian government's Governor General's Council provided legal status as a public university by formulating a Government of India Act.  After independence the Indian parliament reaffirmed AMU's special status as an institution for the Muslims; most recently being in 1981.

Similarly Jamia Milia Islamia was established by India's Muslim community in 1920.  In 1988 by an Act of parliament the status of Jamia as an institution for the Muslim community was reaffirmed.

In 2006 the U.P. High Court acting on an independent PIL made an adverse comment on the 1981 parliamentary Act and the minority status of AMU.  This was a clear violation since the High Court is not authorized to abrogate Acts of parliament; its authority is limited to making observations on the implementation of parliamentary Acts.  The then central government and AMU filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the UP High Court judgement, that is pending there presently.

In the post-independence India where the educational backwardness of Muslims has increased substantially as documented by the 2007 Sachar Committee report, AMU and Jamia have made huge contribution in shoring up higher education in the Muslim community.  But for their contribution the situation would have been much worse.

In these circumstances 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.  We the Indian-American Muslims object strongly to this harmful action of the current BJP government in New Delhi.  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.

Kaleem Kawaja
Executive Director
kaleemkawaja@gmail.com
443 812 0123

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