‘Govt punishing poor Muslims’: Asad on discontinuation of Azad fellowship

Smriti Irani had informed the Lok Sabha that MANF was discontinued from 2022-23 as it overlapped with other schemes for higher education

Hyderabad: Alleging that the Union government was punishing poor Muslims, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Saturday questioned the recent decision of the Centre to discontinue of the Maulana Azad National Fellowship (MANF).

Pointing out that ‘government data’ had clearly indicated that poverty had prevented Muslims from giving their children an education, Owaisi challenged the decision that was announced in Parliament last week.

“Maulana Azad Fellowship for minorities has been discontinued. This is @narendramodi’s sabka saath, vikas. Govt’s data shows that Muslims want to educate their children but extreme poverty prevents them. This is punishing Muslims for their poverty (sic),” he posted on Twitter.

On November 29, while addressing a public meeting in Gujarat, Owaisi had criticised the Union government’s decision to stop Pre-Matric scholarship for students from Class 1 to 8 from the SC, ST, OBC and minority communities.

On December 9, the students of the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), Hyderabad, had protested against the discontinuation of Maulana Azad National Fellowship and Pre-Matric scholarships for students, on the campus.

"The continuous attack on access to education of minorities shows the callous attitude of the present government, whose hollow rhetoric of 'sabka sath, sabka vikas' has been unmasked in the broad daylight,” said Talha Mannan, member of the Students Islamic Organisation (SIO), campus unit, while addressing the gathering.

Osama Naseem, Azad United Students Federation (AUSF) leader and research scholar, said, "If there is any overlap in these fellowships, the government should make a common fellowship for all PhD scholars and keep only one criteria just like PhD enrolment."

On December 8, the Union minorities affairs minister Smriti Irani in a written reply in the Lok Sabha had informed that the MANF had been discontinued from 2022-23. She said that the MANF scheme overlapped with other fellowship schemes for higher education being implemented by the Centre. Since minority students were already covered under such schemes, the government has decided to discontinue the MANF, she had stated.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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