Gulf Times, 29 October, 2006,
FORMER Kerala education minister and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader E T Mohamed Basheer has accused the southern Indian state’s ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) of taking a "vehemently anti-minorities" stance on various issues, especially regarding the education sector.
Basheer is in Doha on an invitation from the Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC Qatar) to promote a campaign aimed at helping people suffering from serious ailments.
Speaking to journalists at the KMCC office yesterday, Basheer said that in the name of protecting the interests of minorities, the LDF government was seeking to undermine the protection accorded to them under article 30 (a) of the Indian constitution.
Basheer, who is general secretary of the IUML in Kerala, said some of the methods adopted by the government to determine minority status were strange. "Nowhere in the Indian constitution was it mentioned that the number of students from the minority communities pursuing education should be less than others for getting the privilege of reservation," he said.
Going by the latest affidavit moved by the government in the Kerala High Court, one gets the impression that minorities in the state no longer require any support for establishing and administering their institutions, he said.
Basheer recalled that a study by the pro-left Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP) had found that Muslims were by and large educationally backward in the state. "How could the LDF government all of a sudden discover that minorities no longer require any special privilege to be eligible for higher education," he asked.
Countering charges that during his term as minister he had supported an official who has now been arrested over the SSLC question paper leak in Kerala, Basheer said even the minister was not supposed to know where the question papers were printed, so as to ensure total secrecy. However, he said that since an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was still on, he would not like to comment on the role of others, including his predecessor. "Let the CBI continue its investigation and come out with its findings," he said.
Asked about his chances of contesting the assembly byelections from Thiruvambady in Kozhikode district, Basheer said no discussion has so far been initiated on the issue. "It is too early to say anything. One thing that is sure is the IUML will contest the elections for the opposition United Democratic Front (UDF)," he said.
KMCC Qatar general secretary Abdullah Parakkal was among those present at the press briefing.