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UP polls: AMU shocker to Congress

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By Iftikhar Gilani

Aligarh: As Rahul Gandhi is pulling all strings to woo the Muslim community for a Congress win in Uttar Pradesh, vice chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has accused the Congress-led UPA government of choking flow of funds to the university.

While the elite Muslims, who identify with AMU, seem to be in a mood to support the Congress, vice chancellor Prof Sibgatullah Farooqui’s shocker is bound to queer their pitch for the party.

Closeted with his finance officer Yasmin Jalal Beig in his office, the vice chancellor told DNA that the university is in dire straits financially because of the government. “I cannot blame other parties, but the Congress has definitely given a big shock to the Muslim community. It has thrown the university into financial crises,” he said.

He said that over the past three years, the central government has restricted their plan budget to Rs 21.22 crore, not increasing it even taking inflation into consideration.
Instead, to placate the Muslim community the government has announced setting up of AMU centres at Murshidabad (West Bengal), Kishangang (Bihar), Aurangabad (Maharastra) and Mallapuram (Kerala). “Not a single paisa has been granted to the development of these centres,” he says, pointing out that the director of the Mallapuram centre recently sought Rs 9 crore from AMU.

The budget of the university stands at Rs535 crore, 95% of which is spent on salaries and non-plan activities. The VC says the government was forcing them to reduce the expenditure and raise own resources.

But, whey he is not looking at corporate linkages as done by many other institutions? Prof Farooqui, who till recently was the dean of commerce, says corporates fund institutions only under certain preconditions, which are unacceptable to the university. “They want a say in the admission policies. We cannot compromise on this, as we have to keep the minority character of the university intact,” he added.

AMU teachers’ association also wants the outside centres to be dismantled as soon as possible. Its president Prof Abdul Qayoom says that since May last year, faculty members have been denied travel and other allowances to attend national conferences. “The centres will affect the minority character of the university, as they have been exempted from abiding by the university regulations and reservations that ensure more Muslim intake,” he said.
Echoing the view, Prof Yusuful Amin, dean of faculty of Unani medicine, says the Congress has given a sugar coated poison to the Muslim community in the name of granting these centres. “We have no issue if they are made separate universities. The AMU will help to develop them. But linking them with AMU, thus sapping our resources, smacks of a conspiracy,” he said.

(Courtesy: DNA, Mumbai)
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