Mumbai: The Mumbai unit of the Congress on Tuesday demanded setting up of a research centre and library dedicated to freedom fighter Maulana Abul Kalam Azad at the historic Jinnah House, the residence of Pakistan founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah before he left India after partition.
Nizamuddin Rayeen, chief of the Mumbai Congress minority cell, said the Jinnah House would be a befitting memorial to the memory and ideals of independent India's first education minister Maulana Azad, and everybody should come forward to support it.
"Such a memorial would enable the nation, especially the present generation, to know about Azad's immense contribution in the field of education," Rayeen told the media.
He reiterated an old demand to set up a permanent chair in the University of Mumbai for research and study on Azad and said the community has even expressed willingness to collect funds for it.
Referring to a controversy over the Ismail Yusuf College in Jogeshwari, Rayeen said the party would oppose any move by the Maharashtra government to hand over its 54 acres land to the Wakf Board.
"The BJP-Shiv Sena government is not interested in setting up an educational hub in the college premises as claimed. We demanded that the property should be handed over to Muslim trust or organisation working for the community's welfare," Rayeen said.
He expressed opposition to a suggestion by some BJP leaders that the Wakf Board should take over the college property and reserve 20 percent for the Muslim community, when the entire premises belongs to the community.
"The intentions of the present government came out in the open after they opposed the educational quota for the Muslim community. The total ownership and functioning of the college must be handed over to a community trust working in the field of education," Rayeen urged.
He also alleged that the Wakf Board cannot be relied upon as it could misuse the property, which was donated by a philanthropist, Sir Mohammed Ismail Yusuf, in 1930 to the then British government specifically for Muslim education.
Originally it was around 120 acres, but due to encroachment and other problems, only 54 acres is now available for the college, and the state government is toying with the idea of setting up the proposed law university on this campus, Rayeen said.