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Muslim students will not lose out on scholarships: Kerala CM

He says speculation to the contrary will sow disaffection among communities

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the Assembly on Thursday that there was no ground for the apprehension that Muslim students would lose out on “merit-cum-means” scholarships due to the 2011 Population Census based restructuring of the educational endowment for students belonging to academically and socially backward minority communities.

He said speculation to the contrary would sow disaffection among communities.

The contentious topic came up during Budget discussions in the House. Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) legislator P.K. Basheer said his party could not agree with the current scholarship allocation. He said it was violative of the spirit of the Sachar Committee report. The Union government had constituted the panel to study backwardness of Muslims alone. The committee had recommended that minority scholarships be entirely reserved for students from indigent Muslim families.

For all minorities

However, Left Democratic Front Independent MLA K.T. Jaleel countered Mr. Basheer’s argument. He said the second United Progressive Alliance government had extended benefits to minority communities as per the spirit of the Sachar Committee report. It did not limit the benefits to Muslims alone. Moreover, the Sachar Committee had recommended creating a Minority Development Department and not a Muslim Development Department to address minority backwardness in the country.

Dr. Jaleel reminded the IUML that C.H. Muhammad Koya had brought Hindu Nadar and Christian girls under the ambit of scholarship to mitigate educational backwardness.

IUML leader P.K. Kunhalikutty said the LDF’s erroneous decision in 2011 to accord 20% of the scholarship award meant exclusively for Muslim students to the Christian community had paved the way for the current High Court order.

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