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16 September 2012

NCMEI holds seminar on ‘Educational Rehabilitation of Strife Affected Students of BTAD’ in Guwahati

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By M.S.A. Siddiqui

In the backdrop of communal clouds crowding on national horizon, the Chairperson of the Committee on Girls’ Education, constituted by this Commission (for short the Committee) with the ERD Foundation, Guwahati organized a seminar on ‘Educational Rehabilitation of Strife Affected Students of BTAD’ which was held on September 8, 2012 at Guwahati. 

Justice M.S.A. Siddiqui addressing Seminar
I had inaugurated the seminar which was attended by the managers of all premier Muslim educational institutions of the country. Inaugurating the seminar, I laid emphasis on the duty of every citizen to safeguard the health of the society. I appealed to the audience that our aim should not be formatted on the track of hate and negativity. 

Whatever had happened in the riot affected areas is a human tragedy and the issues arising therefrom should not be communalized, in the interest of our nation. We must kneel down before the primeval urge of empowering the students of the harvest of hate through education. There are 2,000 such students who have to be adopted for their educational rehabilitation as we the citizens of India are held together by the grace of Almighty within the matrix of a shared spirituality. No child affected by the strife should be discriminated against on the basis of his caste, creed or religion.

Consequent to my appeal the managers of all the minority educational institutions resolved as under:-

1. Students affected by the strife should be divided into 3 categories:

a. Students studying in primary schools;
b. Students studying in higher educational institutions;
c. Girl students.

2. All the educational institutions established by the Muslim Community, shall adopt students affected by the strife, irrespective of their caste, creed and religion, according to their intake capacity for their educational rehabilitation. Even the Bodo children shall be adopted by these institutions, if so desired so by their parents or their wards.

Dr. Shabistan Gaffar addressing Seminar
3. If the adopted child does not want to go out of his home district, local arrangements shall be made by the educational institution concerned, for providing education to him at its expenses. 

4. If any student affected by the strife has been pursuing higher studies at any place in the State of Assam, all the expenses relating to his educational activities shall be borne by the educational concerned. 

5. The ERD Foundation shall help educational institutions concerned in securing requisite documents for admission of the adopted students.

6. As far as possible, the educational institutions concerned shall try to keep the family bond of the adopted students live through regular correspondence and other available modes of communication.

7. Some of the minority professional institutions of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala had offered to reserve a few seats in medical colleges, dental colleges, engineering colleges and other similar professional colleges for the students affected by the strife.

8. Two CBSE affiliated schools shall be established at Guwahati or in the strife affected areas to cater to the needs of the students affected by the harvest of hate. This project shall be funded by some Muslim philanthropists. Some of the participants had announced their share of good will contributions for such a project.

Since the stakeholders were keen to take the adoption process to its logical conclusion at the earliest, a Task Force was constituted to oversee the adoption process and also to ensure expeditious decisions on various issues consequent to the adoption of the students by the institutions concerned for their educational rehabilitation and also to oversee the establishment process of the aforesaid two schools. The Task Force will coordinate between different educational institutions involved in the said scheme of adoption. The adoption process will involve multiplicity of Government authorities. The Task Force shall be chaired by the Chairperson of the Committee. The Chairperson of the ERD Foundation, Guwahati and the Managers of the institutions concerned will also serve as its members. Any other person can be co-opted by the Chairperson in to the Committee as member of the Task Force, if found necessary. 

I had a meeting with the Chief Minister of Assam. I apprised him about the need to educate the Muslims of Assam in general and girls in particular, as I believe that communalism can be defeated through education. The Chief Minister complimented me and the organizers of the said seminar at Guwahati. He had assured me that adequate and prompt steps will be taken to rehabilitate such persons affected by the strife. He has further assured me that the Government shall construct a hostel at Guwahati to cater to the educational needs of the girls belonging to the minority communities of the State. He also assured me that his Government will extend every possible help to the educational institutions concerned in the process of adoption of strife affected students for their educational rehabilitation in right earnestness. 

[Justice MSA Siddiqui is Chairman of National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions. This report has been sent by Dr.Shabistan Gaffar, Chairperson, Committee on Girls Education, National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, New Delhi Email: committeeongirlseducation@gmail.com.]

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