Opposition parties led by the Congress and Samajwadi Party created uproar in Rajya Sabha over government’s alleged interference in the autonomy of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). The Opposition uproar forced the House to adjourn till noon.
The Upper House finally adjourned for the day as a mark of respect for the demise of former Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma who passed away on Thursday morning.
Opposition members trooped into the well of the House raising slogans against alleged threat to the minority status of the university and government’s interference in its internal matters.
Deputy Chairman P J Kurien asked members to return to their seats and give notice if they wanted a discussion on the issue. Protesting members did not relent and the House was adjourned until noon.
Javed Ali Khan of the Samajwadi Party, through a Zero Hour mention, raised the issue of Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani declaring offsite centres of the University illegal and threatening to stop financial aid.
The University’s Executive Committee and Academic Council, drawing rights from Section 12 of AMU Act, in 2008 had decided to set up five off campus centres. Three of them were made operational, he said adding the BJP government has now questioned that decision, Khan said.
Khan added that AMU Vice Chancellor has in a statement said that HRD Minister was declaring these centres illegal and threatening to stop assistance.
“They talk of ‘sab ka saath, sab ka vikas’ but want to deprive a large section of population of education,” Khan alleged demanding a clarification from the government on the minority status of AMU and other such insitutions.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi got up to say that the government was committed to protecting minority status of AMU and other minority institutions.
The AMU matter is in court and everyone should abide by whatever the judicial verdict, Naqvi said.
Not satisfied by the answer, Sharad Yadav (JD-U) and Digvijayaa Singh (Cong) joined Khan saying the BJP government withdrew an affadivit given by the previous UPA government and submitted a new one in the Supreme Court, leading to the present situation.
Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) wanted the government to explain the new affadivit, while Anand Sharma (Cong) wanted an explanation as to why it changed the affadavit. “Why are you targeting minority institutions,” he asked.
Yechury said the issue was serious and had the potential of creating very big communal polarisation.
(With inputs from PTI)