Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday clarified that restructuring of the minority student scholarship will not result in any reduction in the benefits to those already receiving it.
He said the restructuring was carried out in accordance with the direction of the Kerala High Court to include those minority groups which were earlier not being adequately considered under the scholarship scheme.
However, it was not going to result in any reduction in benefits to those groups who were already receiving the scholarship, he asserted.
The chief minister said people should believe it when his government was repeatedly saying there was not going to be any reduction.
He said Leader of the Opposition V D Satheesan had initially accepted the government's decision and only changed his stance due to the way the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) reacted, which was not an appropriate reaction.
Vijayan said that IUML should show that there has been a reduction before making such comments.
IUML has claimed that the Muslim community suffered a huge loss due to the state Cabinet's decision to introduce a new scheme forproviding scholarship for minority students.
The government on Thursday decided to restructure the minority student scholarship ratio after the Kerala High Court quashed the 2015 state Government Order,providing scholarships in the 80:20 ratio to Muslims and Latin Christians and Converted Christians, saying it was "legally unsustainable."
"The scholarship ratio will be restructured in such a manner that no community will be denied the benefit," the government had said.
Top IUML leaders,including Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal, P K Kunhalikutty, E T Muhammed Basheer and KPA Majeed came out openly against the state government, alleging that the Muslim community lost an exclusive scheme formulated based on the Sachar Committee recommendation due to the government decision government decision.
The Sachar Committee was constituted to study the backwardness of the Muslim community.
As per the census, the state has a minority population of 26.56 per cent of Muslims, 18.38 per cent of Christians, 0.01 per cent Buddhists, 0.01 per cent Jain community and 0.01 per cent Sikh population.
The High Court had directed the Left government to pass appropriate orders, providing merit-cum-means scholarship to members of the notified minority communities within the state equally and in accordance with the latest population census available with the State Minority Commission.
(With PTI and IANS inputs)