JNUTA demands ‘immediate reversal’ of govt decision to withdraw fellowship for minority students

New Delhi: The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association on Tuesday demanded an immediate reversal of the Centre’s decision to withdraw the Maulana Azad National Fellowship for minority students, terming the move an “anti-minority policy”. “The JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) notes with deep dismay the media reports appearing on December 10, 2022, that the Ministry of Minority Affairs has decided to withdraw the Maulana Azad Fellowship (MAF), a five-year fellowship provided by the Centre in the form of financial assistance to six notified minority communities — Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Jains, Parsis and Sikhs, to pursue PhDs,” it said in a statement.
Last week, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha, Minority Affairs Minister Smriti Irani announced the decision to discontinue the Maulana Azad National Fellowship from the 2022-23 academic session, saying it overlapped with various other fellowship schemes for higher education being implemented by the government.
Reacting to it, the JNUTA called the discontinuation of the scheme an attack on the values of “inclusivity and democracy” integral to the higher education system required in India.
“The JNUTA demands an immediate reversal of the anti-minority policy evident in the withdrawal of the MAF and the upholding of the democratic rights of all teachers to participate in higher education with dignity and without fear,” the teachers’ body said.
In the statement, the JNUTA also noted that academic excellence could only thrive in an environment that was not only free and devoid of fear but one that actively sought to remove social disadvantages.
On Monday, students of many universities, including Jamia Millia Islamia and Jawaharlal Nehru University, staged a protest outside the Ministry of Education here against the discontinuation of the fellowship.
The Centre had last week also announced the discontinuation of pre-matric scholarships for minority students from Class 1 to Class 8.