Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Minority tag to 71 Kerala educational institutions in a single sitting sparks row

Minority tag to 71 Kerala educational institutions in a single sitting sparks row

Akshaya Mukul, TNN Aug 22, 2012, 04.36AM IST

NEW DELHI: The grant of minority status to 71 educational institutions of Kerala by the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) in a single sitting has raised hackles within the panel as well as the HRD ministry for doling out of minority certificates without due diligence.
In January, when NCMEI granted minority status to 71 institutions, two of its members — Mohinder Singh and Cyriac Thomas — wrote to chairperson M S A Siddiqui pointing out that the files of many institutions were not in order. In fact, in few cases the vakalatnama by the advocate did not bear his signature. Even required affidavits were not in the files. The two members asked Siddqui as to how the secretary of NCMEI cleared 71 applications and told members that these cases were in order. The duo requested Siddiqui to review minority status to the 71 institutions by the full bench of the commission.

Siddiqui admitted two members of NCMEI had objected to the manner in which these institutions were given minority status. "We have reviewed their case and final order is pending," he said. He denied large scale granting of minority status to institutions. "All rules are being followed," he said, adding that till state government's minority department gives clearance, and NCMEI does not grant minority status. He cited the instance of an institute that had sought minority status on the ground that the promoter was a Sikh by birth, who had removed his hair and turban. When complaints and counter-complaints came about the institute, he said, all records were verified. "Even UP government's minority affairs department said promoters were minority," he said.
However, NCMEI sources point out that ever since National Council for Teacher Education banned opening of new institutions imparting B.Ed courses except by minorities, many promoters are claiming they belong to minority community and have even produced certificate to back their claims. In some cases from Uttar Pradesh it was noticed that the promoters said they have converted to Christianity and in few other cases even to Buddhism. "A big lobby is at work misusing the minority status. The rot has set in deep," they added.

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