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An interview with Md. Pervez Siddiqui on the issue of minority status to the AMU
Central University Aligarh Muslim University's students and authorities are fighting for minority status to be given to Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). Recently President of India Pranab Mukherjee visited the AMU to attend and inaugurate the 37th Indian Social Science Congress on December 27, 2013. The university fraternity was eagerly waiting for the President and as they were expecting some kind of announcement from him regarding the grant of minority status to the AMU.

But the Indian president did not make any announcement in this regard on the occasion and didn't even mention the name of founder of the University Sir Syed Ahmed Khan in his speech according to a statement posted by the university on its website.

Sir Syed Minority Status foundation of India (SSMSFI), an organization which has been established for the cause of minority status to the university, has been fighting for this from quite a long time, The foundation also wrote a letter, signed by 10,000 students of the AMU in support of minority status to the AMU. They were quite upset as the President Mukherjee left the university without mentioning anything about the minority status issue.  

We spoke to the General Secretary of Sir Syed Minority Status Foundation of India(SSMSFI) Md. Perwez Siddiqui, about his vision and plans for the minority status to the AMU. Here's the excerpts from the interview.

Q. How long is your fight for the minority status to the AMU?

Perwez Siddiqui: We have established an organization for this cause named, Sir Syed Minority Status Foundation of India in the year 2012.Through this organization many people have came to support us in this cause and we have built a platform for those who think that they are in favour of the minority status to AMU, and lots of people including students, aluminas, and teachers have came to join us in the cause.

Q. What are the various problems that students are facing in the absence of minority status to the university, and how they will be benefited once the university gets the minority status?

Siddiqui: The condition of Muslim youths is very bad these days as they don't have jobs, deprived from the quality education, and financially weak to afford the professional education in India. Now the number of seats in professional courses in AMU are decreasing and they are finding it hard to get professional education. We are demanding this because after getting minority status we can reserve 50% seats for the Muslims in the university, which can help them in getting professional courses as well as other courses in the AMU. Just like Jamia has been upgraded and got the minority status, we also want the same.

Q. Now when President Pranab Mukherjee has not spoken on the minority status issue, what do you have to say?  

Well as you know that President is the official visitor of University and he has some executive powers reserved with him, so were expecting something from him regarding our demand. While using his powers under the Article 143, he should had at least made some announcement on this issue.

Its been sad that he didn't speak on the minority status topic although AMU's Vice-Chancellor Zameeruddin Shah gave him the letter signed by the 10,000 students of AMU and a booklet named "QUEST FOR JUSTICE" on behalf of Sir Syed Minority Status Foundation of India describing the technical lawful rudiments to fight for the restoration of minority status of AMU time and again. The university's V-C tried to remind him of the issue but the President neglected this issue completely.

Q. So what will be your next step or strategy regarding this issue?

We will continue our fight and conduct more awareness programmes. A lot of aluminas have also joined this cause and we also try to convince the Govt. on this issue humbly. We will also organise peaceful protests.

UPA Chairperson Mrs. Sonia Gandhi also made the promise during her last visit to the AMU that she would take up this issue on personal level and said that its a historical university and it should get the Minority Status, and when Shri. Rahul Gandhi arrived in AMU, we personally met him and put forward this point and he also assured us that he will take up this issue. But still nothing has happened and we are still on the same place, we were earlier.

Q.  Do you people have doubt that the matter of minority status which has been pending in the Supreme Court will not come into your favor and that is why you are trying to resolve it out of court?

Siddiqui: We are waiting for the decision without thinking whether it will be in our favour or against us. I think the case that has been pending in the Supreme Court since a long time must be moved and the Judge should pass a decision positive or negative. After that we will plan our next move. But at least the apex court first gives it verdict.

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