The green light for granting minority status to Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) has failed to impress many students and teachers of the university.
While no protests were seen against the move, murmurs of dissent could be heard all over the campus.
“The reputation of being a secular university that we managed to cultivate over the years will take a serious hit,” said Kanika, a BA English (Hons) student, who did not want to give her full name. A faculty member, who did not wish to be named, agreed, “JMI was set up with a vision of becoming an institution of higher learning and critical thinking against the insularity and isolationism of all kinds. This vitiates the ideals with which it was started.”
JMI’s vice chancellor Najeeb Jung meanwhile said that nothing much will change at the ground level. “There are around 51% Muslims studying here. The reservation will just ensure that Muslim students, who according to the Sachar Committee report, are worse off than SCs when it comes to education, get equal opportunity,” he said.
But many felt this move will weaken the university. “Giving colleges and universities minority status is a quick fix solution and will help create educational ghettos,” said a teacher who is part of the Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association, which has been against this minority status since the beginning.
Jung has meanwhile warned students and teachers against giving the judgement a communal turn. “If I hear even one communal voice, that person will be rusticated,” he said.
National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) had granted the JMI the status of a minority institution on Tuesday, clearing the way for 50% reservation for Muslim students. The JMI administration is currently studying the judgement to see how it can be implemented.