By Abdul Bari Masoud, MM
New Delhi: Defending minority character of Aligarh Muslim University in no uncertain terms, eminent jurist and former Union minister Ram Jethmalani on Tuesday said the BJP has gone mad by refusing this historic reality. While Justice Rajendra Sachar has described BJP-led NDA government’s stand on AMU as absurd and a deliberate attempt to create fight between Muslims and SCs &STs.
Addressing a press conference organized by the Aligarh Movement Foundation here at his residence, Ram Jethmalani has hit hard at the Modi government saying the BJP is enemy of the nation which has taken a nonsense stand in the AMU case.
Calling him as a great admirer of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and the AMU, he said there is nothing wrong with the law but there is wrong with politicians. He was very harsh on the BJP saying he was one of the founders of the party but left in 1999.
On the stand taken by the government in the Supreme Court over the AMU status, Jethmalani said,” It is disgraceful for the nation and it is hurting the sentiments of religious minorities.”
Jethmalani said there was “no doubt that the AMU is a minority institution.” The granting of the legal status of a university in 1920 had in no way diluted its main character, that it was established by Muslims and for Muslims of India, he added.
This, he said, was necessary for “giving justice to Muslims and for the fulfillment of the basic objective behind the establishment of this university.”
Jethmalani said he was sure that the Supreme Court would overturn the Division Bench judgment of Allahabad High Court, which stripped AMU of its minority status. Quoting extensively from the then Governor-General of India’s speech at the AMU, he said the institution was established by the Muslim Community.
He also said he was a great admirer of Prophet Mohammad who said ‘walking in search of knowledge is walking in the path of God’.
“Muslims ruled the world till 13th century when they were harbinger of knowledge and even they taught Europe. But when they abandoned knowledge they had lost the glory and became the salve of Europe.”
When asked whether he will extend the legal help to the AMU, 93- year old maverick lawyer said if the AMU asked he will certainly help them in the case.
“It is my principle of legal practice, I do not go to the client, and client should come to me’.
Noted rights activist and former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, Justice Sachar also came down hard on the BJP government for its u-turn on the AMU issue. He said it was a deliberate attempt to pit schedule castes against Muslims and people of this country will not forget it. Muslims will not forget it.
He said it was not a Muslim issue but a national issue as it has wide ramifications on the educational rights of linguistic and religious minorities. He described the government’s action as ‘absurd’ (Behooda) saying he is using mild word for this.
On the JNU issue, Justice Sachar said it reflects the fascist tendencies of the present government and misuse of power.
On the occasion, AMU teacher Prof Khurshid Anwar said the AMU‘s doors have been always open for all the communities as its first student was Raja Jaikishan and first graduate was Ishwari Das. One can compare with Banaras Hindu University and AMU, he can found more than 40 per cent students in AMU belong to non-Muslim communities, he added.
Omar Peerzada, convener of Aligarh Movement Foundation, said it was not a Muslim issue but a national issue.
We are in exercise of mobilising legal opinion about AMU Minority Status from legal Fraternity of imminence in quest for the restoration of its minority character, he added.