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Law varsity excuse for govt to encroach on Ismail Yusuf College campus
Says NGO formed to demand possession of Muslim endowment land; threatens to launch protest for the cause of minority education
Sunday February 22, 2015 11:47 AM, & Agencies

Terming the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance government's decision to run National Law University in Ismail Yusuf College campus as immoral, anti-constitutional and an assault on the Muslim character of the college, an NGO said it is just an excuse to encroach over the Muslim endowment land.

Ismail Yusuf College

"The Bandra to Dahisar region has a high concentration of Muslims but no minority colleges worth speaking of. The National Law University and educational hub are excuses for the government to encroach on the campus", Farid Khan, a core member of the Ismail Yusuf College Campus Bachao Samiti, said while addressing a press conference Saturday.

The Samiti, which also has former BJP leader and close aide of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Sudheendra Kulkarni and president of Anjuman-I-Islam Dr Zahir Kazi as members, threatened to launch the "biggest peaceful protest in Mumbai's history for the cause of minority education".

"We will try to talk to the government to explain the issue and put in our demand. If talks fail, we will launch a protest outside Mantaralya from March 09. The protest will be biggest peaceful protest in Mumbai's history", Dr Zahir Kazi said.

He said the terms of the original endowment by Sir Muhammad Yusuf Ismail in 1914 made it clear that the purpose of the college was to promote higher education of Muslims primarily, though it would be open to all students.

"Successive governments of various hues have distorted the arrangement. One way out would be to declare the college a minority institute under Article 30(1) of the Constitution," he added.

Sudheendra Kulkarni took the opportunity to question his former party's commitment to promises made in its manifesto.

"The BJP manifesto specifically promises to strengthen and modernise minority educational institutions and prevent encroachment of Waqf properties. I would like to ask the CM, Devendraji, have you read your own party's manifesto?" he asked.

Earlier, SEWA, an NGO led by former Congress MLA Yusuf Abrahani had announced to 'forcibly' acquire the Ismail Yusuf College campus and declare it a 'Muslim property' if the government went ahead with its plan to use the campus for the National Law University.

Muslims are demanding possession of this land since independence. Their demands became stronger when the state government, after violent protests by Dalits, announced to use Indu Mill compound to build a memorial for Dr. Ambedkar.

Dr. Mehmoodur Rehman Committee, constituted in 2008 by the Congress-NCP alliance government to look into socio-economic and educational status of Muslims in Maharashtra, had also supported the demand in its report.

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