Amid Congress’ stinging allegations that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was “anti-Dalit”, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Aditynath on Sunday, 24 June, without naming the grand old party said when would those claiming Dalits were being humiliated ask for reservation in Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath weighed in on the debate on whether the Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia should have Dalit quota, questioning if the Banaras Hindu University can stick to the reservation policy, why can’t minority-run institutions do the same.
The chief minister was speaking at a public meeting in Kannauj where he further asked: “If the BHU can give it (reservation) to Dalits and backwards then why not in Aligarh Muslim University?”
The politically loaded AMU quota issue was raised by the BJP’s ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ahead of the 2017 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. RSS joint general secretary Krishna Gopal said the varsity was committing a “big crime” by not implementing quota.
Adityanath, however, is not the first BJP leader to have demanded the restoration of SC/ST quota in Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia. In April 2018, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot had said that the Modi-led government was attempting the same in the two minority institutes.
The quota issue of Aligarh Muslim University went to the Supreme Court after an Allahabad High Court verdict of 2005 held the university as non-minority institution. Not just the AMU, but the Banaras Hindu University had approached the top court seeking the restoration of 50 per cent institutional preference quota, in post-graduate medical courses.