Asserting that Aligarh Muslim University is not a minority institution, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on Saturday said the varsity is committing a "big crime" by not implementing the policy of reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs.
RSS joint general secretary Krishna Gopal said the National Democratic Alliance government's stand on the issue of AMU's minority status was in sync with that of previous governments, barring the United Progressive Alliance dispensation, and an order by the apex court in 1968.
The NDA government had told the Supreme Court in April that it would withdraw the appeal filed by the erstwhile UPA government challenging the Allahabad high court verdict holding AMU as non-minority institution.
"The Centre took the stand which was the position of Maulana Azad, (HRD Minister) M C Chagla, (Saiyid) Nurul Hasan. At that time, all the (then) three Prime Ministers Jawharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi were also there. Our stand is similar to the decision of the Supreme Court. We did not change the decision, it was done in 2005 by the UPA.
"So, the present central government has not taken any new decision. They have taken the same decision which was given by a bench of five judges of the Supreme Court in 1968. It's the same decision taken by the Constituent Assembly, which had Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, Maulana Azad and several Muslim leaders," Gopal said.
He was speaking on a day-long workshop on 'National Reservation Policy and Aligarh Muslim University', which was attended by several BJP MPs and MLAs.
The issue assumes significance as BJP is raising the issue in view of Uttar Pradesh assembly polls where the party is seeking to repeat its Lok Sabha performance when it won 71 of the state's 80 seats.
Speaking on this occasion, BJP from MP from Lalgang Neelam Sonker said "injustice" is being done by the varsity by not implementing the reservation policy and that she, along with other BJP MPs, will raise the issue in Parliament and take it before the people.
Gopal said all central universities give reservations to SC, ST and OBCs. He noted that even Banaras Hindu University, on whose basis the law for AMU was formulated, implements the policy of reservation.
"On the basis of Kashi (Banaras) Hindu University, the AMU Act was made, but they (the AMU) don't give reservation. This is a dilemma. This is discriminatory. Not implementing the policy of reservation is a big crime," the RSS leader said.
Gopal said there was a lot of "confusion" over the issue.
Had AMU been a minority institution, it would have been a "madrassa", he said.
"Had the benefit of reservation given to SCs, STs and OBCs, then lakhs would have been benefited. The locals would have been MBBS, B.Tech, MCA, BCA, LLM and made progress in life. But now the time has come to correct it. The central government with all its strength has stood with this position," Gopal said.
Sonker said there is a perception in mind that AMU is meant only for the Muslim community.
In an apparent attack on St Stephens College here, she said, "There is a college in Delhi which thinks it's above the Constitution and its provisions. We have to take it seriously.
"The BHU is near us. We have many Muslim brothers in my constituency, but whenever I ask them why don't you study there (in BHU), they say we want to go to AMU. I think, even they have this in their mind that the university is theirs and meant only for their community people and not for anyone else.
"This university is for everyone. I want to assure you that in the upcoming Parliament session, we will raise the issue. We will also go out in the region and tell people that it is injustice and it has to be stopped. The Vice-Chancellor is not implementing the (reservation) policy, and we will undertake protests," the Bharatiya Janata Party MP said.
Criticising the UPA government's stand, Gopal said it was in 2005 that then HRD Minister Arjun Singh for the first time declared AMU as a minority institution which was a "wrong stand".
In the famous Azeez Basha versus Union of India case, the SC ruled that AMU was not a minority institution as it was set up by the British legislature, and not by Muslims. In 1981, Parliament passed an AMU Amendment Act, which accepted that AMU was set up by Muslims.
As aspects of admission policy were challenged by some groups, the Allahabad high court ruled in 2005 that the 1981 act was ultra vires of the Constitution, and that AMU was not a minority institution. AMU's appeal against the single-judge order was dismissed, but the Supreme Court stayed the Allahabad HC decision.
"Reservation for Muslim students (in AMU) is wrong. Second, the HRD Ministry's decision was also quashed by the Allahabad High Court. Third is 1981 the amendments made by Parliament, which led to the notion that it was a minority institution is also wrong. It was also quashed by the court.
"The previous governments did mislead (the community), but never granted the minority status," he said.
Gopal also sought to clarify that the 50 per cent reservation cap in AMU is not for Muslim students, but it is for the students of the same university, who do bachelors.