MANF must stay: Kerala MPs attend MSF JNU's nationwide protest; students detained

MANF scheme: Some of the protesting students were detained by the Delhi Police in front of the ministry of education office.

MSF-JNU students protesting against scrapping of MANF schemeMSF-JNU students protesting against scrapping of MANF scheme

Anu Parthiban | December 15, 2022 | 05:04 PM IST

NEW DELHI: The Muslim Students Federation (MSF) of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) today organised a nationwide protest against the Centre’s decision to discontinue the Maulana Azad National Fellowship (MANF) scheme. Some of the protesting students were detained by the Delhi Police in front of the ministry of education office, the students group claimed.

A large section of students of MSF-JNU were protesting against the cancellation of the scheme at Jantar Mantar today. The protesters raised slogans and carried posters that read, “MANF must stay!” and “Resist attack on education”.

Kerala MPs including ET Muhammed Basheer, MP Abdussamad, NK Premachandran addressed the protest gathering at Jantar Mantar, Delhi.

Student organisations and political leaders across the country expressed disappointment after the Union minority affairs minister Smriti Irani announced to stop the MANF scheme on December 9.

Smriti Irani said that “the MANF scheme overlaps with various other fellowship schemes for higher education being implemented by the Government and minority students are already covered under such schemes, hence the Government has decided to discontinue the MANF Scheme from 2022-23.”

Student organisations from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) and Delhi University (DU) who staged demonstration days before were also allegedly manhandled by the Delhi Police.

msf-jnu-nationwide-protestKerala MPs addressed the nationwide protest against scrapping of MANF

Pre-matric scholarship

The central government’s decision to limit the pre-matric scholarship to just Classes 9 and 10 students was also not received well. The pre-matric scholarship used to also cover students of Classes 1 to 8 belonging to SC, ST, OBC and minority communities.

The government justified the move to only Class 9 and 10 under the scheme by underlining that the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009 makes it obligatory for the government to provide free and compulsory elementary education till Class 8.

Calling it a “blatant injustice”, the National Federation of Girls Islamic Organisation (GIO) had earlier said, “By eliminating minority scholarships, a concerted effort is being made to institutionally exclude socially backward communities from the education sector.”

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