By Mohammad Alamullah

LIFE has become increasingly challenging for minorities under the BJP government. Recently, the Ministry of Minority Affairs shut down Maulana Azad Education Foundation, sparking fears that educational opportunities for the already marginalised sections will further nosedive. The decision is being viewed in some circles as a deliberate attempt to hinder Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, and others from accessing education. Some others see it as part of a broader agenda to suppress minority communities.

The Maulana Azad Education Foundation, established to support educationally disadvantaged sections of society, was being funded by the Ministry of Minority Affairs. However, this arrangement was abruptly terminated on February 7 with the ministry closing the foundation.

Maulana Azad, a revered leader in the Indian independence movement and the country’s first education minister, played a significant role in shaping the education sector. Institutions like IITs and AIIMS were established under his guidance, contributing to technical and medical education.

The closure order of the foundation also resulted in the dismissal of 43 contractual employees.

Each year, thousands of Muslim students and hundreds of Muslim educational institutions benefited from the various educational schemes offered by the foundation.

The Maulana Azad Foundation, established in July 1989, operated as a non-political, non-profit society registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860. Its active work commenced in the financial year 1993-94 when the central government allocated the first installment of its corpus fund, amounting to Rs 5 crores. Subsequently, the second tranche of Rs 25.01 crore was released in 1995-96, with the corpus fund steadily increasing to Rs 750 crores by 2011-12.

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