In an apparent attempt to reach out to minorities ahead of next Lok Sabha election, Government has announced setting up of five new universities for promotion of education among these communities.
Minority Affairs Minister K Rahman Khan told reporters here today that the decision to set up five universities has been taken but the locations were yet to be finalised.
"The minority ministry is starting five universities as several other ministries have started. So, what is our mandate? Minority focus, so these are minority focus universities. Our ministry is establishing five universities for the promotion of education of minorities. It is not any religion focused," Khan told reporters here.
The minister dismissed queries on whether the decision to set up the Universities was a political one as the Lok Sabha elections were approaching.
"I came eight months back as a minister. If I take any initiative it will be called political. So what can I do? Should I sit down because election is coming, I should not work," he said.
Khan said that the ministry had been established to take affirmative action for all religious minorities who are likely to suffer discrimination.
"The Sachar Committee has said that the Muslims suffer from lot of educational backwardness and there backwardness has gone below the SC/ST section of the society.... So the ministry has taken a decision to establish universities and also promote educational institutions," he said.
Earlier, Khan, participating in a consultation on including Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians as Scheduled Castes, said that he personally favoured the idea.
"The demand looks legitimate. It is not a new demand. We have to look into it constitutionally. Whatever may be the other aspects, ultimately the Constitution prevails," Khan told reporters.