Minority affairs minister K Rahman Khan has said he would speedily set up five new universities for minorities, one of them in Karnataka, which the BJP has vowed to resist.
Khan has ordered a high-level panel led by educationist Sukhadeo Thorat to suggest a model.
A private-public collaboration could be approved to set up the institutions. Khan recently apprised UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi of the proposal.
BJP’s state leadership in Karnataka’s had recently said it would not allow a university for minorities in the state or have it named after Tipu Sultan, as proposed, or give any land for it.
Khan said the five universities would address a pressing need for educational facilities for Muslims.
According to the 2006 Sachar Commission report, Muslims make up only 4% of undergraduate students across India’s top universities.
“Demand for education and scholarships is very high among Muslims. We will go ahead,” he told HT. On January 16, Karnataka BJP Spokesperson G Madhusudan said the “university will become a breeding ground for anti-national elements”.
The plan includes Kwaja Garib Nawaz University in Ajmer, Tipu Sultan University in Mysore, both for engineering, and Rafi Kidwai University in Kishanganj for medical sciences.
A previous panel had suggested the institutes should focus on all “socially and economically” disadvantaged groups, but offer scholarships to minorities, rather than reserve seats.