Jogeshwari college to be ‘forcibly possessed’?

Written By Unknown on Rabu, 18 Februari 2015 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Opposing the state government's plan to develop Jogeshwari-based Ismail Yusuf College as an education hub, some Muslim groups have threatened "forcible possession" of the campus any day between last week of February and first week of March. Calling it the community's last resort, former Congress MLA and ex-MHADA chairman Yusuf Abrahni said on Monday that the BJP-Sena government had decided to set up a law university and other institutions at the college campus despite a high court's order to maintain the status quo.

"Our Dalit brothers have set an example. As the government was forced to build Dr Ambedkar memorial at the Indu Mills only after the Dalits forcibly occupied it, we have decided to follow the same method," said Abrahni. He, however, added that he would first approach CM Devendra Fadnavis, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and MNS president Raj Thackeray and explain why the land should be handed over to a Muslim trust. "The college was established on over 120 acre land purchased with a donation of around Rs 10 lakh by philanthropist Sir Ismail Yusuf in 1914. The purpose was to impart higher education to Muslims though its doors were open for all," added Abrahni. He said that Social Educational and Welfare Association (SEWA), along with 30 other NGOs, had decided to launch a state-wide campaign to mobilize public opinion.

Congress MLA Amin Patel has petitioned the CM demanding formation of a committee of Muslim MLAs, headed by the CM, to resolve the issue amicably. "Assembly speaker in the Congress-led DF government Dilip Valse Patil, on the floor of the house, had suggested an out of court settlement between the Muslim NGos and the government. The land should be given to a Muslim trust to establish an international university for education of Muslim youth," said Patel.

Some Dalit leaders too lent support. "Like the Dalits, Muslims too are educationally and financially weak. The land belongs to Muslims, and the government should immediately give it to the community," said Dalit leader Ramesh Kamble. Amir Idrisi of Association of Muslim Professionals said a joint front of Muslim and non-Muslim intellectuals, activists and professionals would be created to get the land back.

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