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Ministry Orders Closure of Maulana Azad Education Foundation, Stirring Controversy

The Ministry of Minority Affairs has stirred controversy with its decision to order the closure of the Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF), a government-funded organization dedicated to promoting education among educationally disadvantaged sections of the Muslim community. The abrupt closure order, issued on February 7 by under-secretary Dhiraj Kumar, has raised questions as it lacks substantive rationale.

According to sources familiar with the matter, the decision was prompted by a proposal from the Central Waqf Council (CWC), responsible for regulating educational initiatives for minorities in the country. However, senior officials within the ministry have labeled it as an “internal matter” not yet disclosed to the public.

The order mandates the MAEF to propose an agenda for its legal closure and complete the dissolution process as per applicable laws. It also outlines plans to transfer the foundation’s funds totaling Rs. 1,073.26 crores to the Consolidated Funds of India (CFI) and liabilities amounting to Rs. 403.55 crores to the National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC).

Established in 1989 on the birth centenary of Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, the first education minister and freedom fighter, MAEF has played a crucial role in aiding education among marginalized Muslim communities. The decision to shutter the foundation comes amid past controversies, including the discontinuation of the Maulana Azad National Fellowship in 2022, which sparked widespread student protests.

Experts and academics have expressed concern over the closure, emphasizing its adverse impact on Muslim students. A senior professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University stated, “The move will have an adverse impact on the Muslim students as the MAEF was the torchbearer for promoting education among the Muslim community in India.”

The closure of MAEF raises broader questions about the government’s commitment to minority education and the future of educational initiatives aimed at marginalized communities.

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