Days after the Uttar Pradesh SC/ST Commission served a notice on the Aligarh Muslim University for not implementing SC/ST quotas in admission and faculty recruitment – and National Commission for Scheduled Castes chairman Ramshankar Katheria asked the university to clarify its stand or risk losing Central funding – Union Minister for Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar said these were “valid questions”.Asked about his view on the notice by the state SC/ST Commission, Mr. Javadekar said, “The Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe Commission is a legal, statutory body and they have raised questions and very valid questions. So, let the university answer.”The UP SC/ST Commission had, in a six-page notice, disapproved of AMU’s stand of not providing SC/ST quotas and gave it time till August 8 to clear the air on why this has not been done.Mr. Katheria, on his part, told reporters in Aligarh that AMU did not offer quotas to SC/STs even before 1981, the year when the MHRD had given it a letter stating that it was a minority institution. He said that if the university did not take steps to implement quotas in a month, he would write to the MHRD to reconsider giving it grants.The turn of events is politically potent. It is being seen as an attempt on the part of the government to reach out to SCs, STs and OBCs and also potentially project a divergence of Muslim and Dalit/OBC interests at a time when there has been talk of a potential political alliance of sections of these groups in UP.The Allahabad High Court had held more than a decade back that the AMU is not a minority institution. The university and the UPA government had petitioned the Supreme Court to reverse the High Court judgment. However, the Narendra Modi government in 2016 told the apex court that it wished to withdraw its petition and reversed the official line to say that AMU is not a minority institution. The case is pending in the Supreme Court, which has, in its pendency, permitted the AMU to function as a minority institution.