The controversy over whether Jamia Millia Islamia is a minority institution or not, currently pending the decision of a commission, has taken a new turn with minority affairs minister Salman Khurshid hitting out at HRD minister Kapil Sibal after mails exchanged by the two became public.
“Ministers should not debate, discuss and disagree in public,” Khurshid said, hinting that the HRD ministry had leaked the letters.
Khurshid’s ministry has marshaled numerous arguments to underscore that Jamia — set up in 1920 and a Delhi-based central university — deserves minority status. Such a status would allow the university to reserve half its seats for the minority Muslim community. The HRD ministry opposes granting this.
“The PM is our judge and I can tell you I’m going to win,” Khurshid told HT. Sibal was not available for comment.
Khurshid’s letter to Sibal said both ministries must take ‘a consistent position’ before the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, which will decide the matter. It said this should be done through ‘a mutually agreed upon, appropriate affidavit’ filed by the HRD ministry.
Sibal’s response on May 14 was cold: The government’s intention is to “maintain the historical character of Jamia Millia Islamia and not to accord minority status thereto”.