The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the second biggest ally in the Congress-led UDF on Saturday said that it was the Left Government in 2011 which came out with the government order under which 80 per cent of the merit-cum-means scholarships went to the Muslim community and 20 per cent to the Christian community (Latin Catholic and converted Christians).
Speaking to the media, senior IUML legislator P.K. Kunhalikutty said it was the Left government which came out with the order and they are now spreading canards that it was the UDF government in 2015 which decided on this.
“This is nothing but covering up of facts and all what the then UDF government (2011-16) did was to go forward with the order which the Left government first came out in 2011. The Left is now trying to put the blame on us,” said Kunhalikutty.
But veteran CPI-M leader and former State Minister Paloly Mohammed Kutty said the Left government then which he was a part, (2006-11) said the then Congress government (2011-16) came under duress from the IUML and it was they who had done this and the Left government had no role in it.
It was on Friday, a division bench, headed by Chief Justice S. Manikumar gave the order on a public interest litigation, directing that the scholarships should be distributed on the basis of the population of the communities.
The Kerala High Court ordered to cancel the 2015 state government order under which 80 per cent of the merit-cum-means scholarships went to the Muslim community and 20 per cent to the Christian community (Latin Catholic and converted Christians).
However the Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference on Saturday welcomed the verdict and opined that it’s not against any one particular community and the benefits should go to all the minority communities.
Incidentally it was Mizoram Governor and former state BJP President P.S. Sreedharan Pillai who last year for the first time had gone on record to say that Cardinal George Alencherry, the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, had shared his concerns that 80 per cent of the funds for the minority community are going to ‘one’ particular community and the Christian community is getting just 20 per cent.
In Kerala, of the 3.34 crore population, the Muslim community accounts for 88.73 lakh, while the Christian population stands at 61.41 lakh.
However if the apportionment is going to cover all the Christians, then the new ratio will see the Muslims getting 60 per cent and Christians 40 per cent. But if it is going to be applicable in the present form to only the Latin and converted Christians, then the present 80:20 ratio will continue.
Welcoming the new judgement was veteran Kerala Congress opposition legislator and former State Minister P.J. Joseph who on Saturday said that if need be, let a new survey be conducted to find out who all can get the benefits of this.
Meanwhile, the Pinarayi Vijayan government has decided not to do anything in haste and it has asked the Law department to study the new order in detail and with the Assembly now in session, the first signs of a renewed tussle between the ruling Left and the Congress led UDF on this can be expected, starting from Monday.
However the Kerala unit of the BJP has welcomed the new order and its senior leader George Kurian said this was what the BJP has always been batting for, that the apportionment should be based on the population.