All-party meet to discuss minority scholarship issue

Chief Minister convenes meeting on May 4

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has convened an all-party meeting on May 4 to discuss the issue precipitated by the recent High Court order striking down the 80:20 ratio of merit-cum-means scholarship for educationally disadvantaged and needy Muslim and Latin Catholic Christian students, including those hailing from the converted Christian community, respectively.

The order threatened to drastically reduce the minority scholarship quota for Muslims, a crucial demographic in Kerala, from 80% to 58.67%.

Various Christian organisations have welcomed the court order stating it had ended the bias in distributing scholarships meant to give a leg-up to minority community students.

However, Muslim organisations have opposed any reduction of the community’s scholarship quota. The High Court had found the current allocation legally unsustainable and heavily loaded in favour of a particular community.

It directed the State government to issue orders to rectify the anomaly and bestow scholarship to students from notified minority communities equally and as per the latest population census endorsed by the State Minority Commission.

As per the census, Muslims constituted 58.67% of the minority population, Christians 40.6%, with other communities making up the remaining 0.73%.

The government has to balance the demands of both communities and arrive at an amicable settlement. The CPI(M) and the Left Democratic Front (LDF) would weigh the situation. Front partners Indian National League (INL) and Kerala Congress (M) are understood to be not on the same page on the issue.

Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan has opened consultations within the United Democratic Front (UDF). While one of its partners Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) has opposed any reduction in the Muslim scholarship quota, another partner, the Kerala Congress led by P.J. Joseph, has viewed the court verdict positively.

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