Monday, June 17, 2024

Pondicherry University students protest scrapping of minority scholarship

In opposition to the antipathic approach of the government towards socially and economically backward communities like minorities, the Joint Action Committee(JAC) of Pondicherry University on Wednesday organized a protest gathering on the University campus.

On 08 December, Union Minister for Minority Affairs, Smriti Irani in a written reply in Lok Sabha informed that the government has discontinued the Maulana Azad National Fellowship (MANF) for Minorities, implemented by the UGC for the students of Muslim, Sikh, Parsi, Buddhist, Christian and Jain minority communities who pursued M.Phil./Ph.D degrees in science, humanities, social sciences, engineering and technology.

The Union government’s decision to terminate the fellowship has left research scholars of minority communities across the country aggrieved and disappointed. Irani cited the overlapping of other government schemes with MANF as the reason for scrapping it.

This announcement comes in the wake of the Union government’s decision to suspend the OBC pre-matric scholarship for students of Class 1-8.

The joint protest gathering demanded the unequivocal reinstatement of the MANF which provides significant support to the M.Phil/Ph.D aspirants among minorities who secured Assistant Professor qualifications but failed to get JRF.

The JAC comprises various student outfits like Fraternity Movement, ASA, NSUI and MSF.

Members of the JAC noted that as a scholar cannot hold more than one fellowship at a time, the reasons provided by the Government for discontinuing MANF are ambiguous and unsatisfactory.

Also, it is the government’s responsibility to clarify any anomalies pertaining to the overlapping of government schemes, a statement shared with Maktoob reads.

The JAC further commented that, recently, an event organized by Pondicherry University in collaboration with the Akhil Bharatiya Shaikshik Mahasangh (ABRSM) ostensibly demonstrates the larger agenda to saffronize higher educational institutions and exclude underprivileged groups from academic spaces.

The representatives of the Fraternity Movement, ASA, MSF and NSUI addressed the gathering.

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