Aligarh Muslim University’s decision to hold a seminar on Raja Mahendra Pratap has come under criticism from the student’s union which alleged that the Vice-Chancellor had succumbed to “pressure of BJP government” but he rejected the charge saying it is a “misconception”.
Ending a stand-off, BJP yesterday gave up its plans to organise the birth anniversary celebration of Raja Mahendra Pratap at the AMU campus after the Vice-Chancellor Zameer Uddin Shah announced that the university will hold a seminar to mark his contribution.
Last night, the AMU Students’ Union passed a resolution criticising the Vice-Chancellor’s decision to hold the seminar “under pressure of the BJP government at the centre”.
“Some sections of the university community may harbour the misconception that I took this decision on Friday under pressure from the central government. This is patently false,” Vice-Chancellor Zameer Uddin Shah told PTI yesterday.
“My decision to hold the seminar springs entirely from my intent to highlight those heroes of India’s freedom movement whose contributions have been forgotten by us today,” Shah added.
“The seminar will be be held at AMU at an early date despite some reservations on this move by some student leaders,” Shah said.
Shah had earlier written to the centre saying there could be a communal flagration and student unrest after BJP leaders had planned to celebrate the birth anniversary of Pratap, a freedom fighter and one of the land donors to the AMU campus, in front of the main gate of the campus on December 1.
The students’ union resolution passed yesterday criticised the BJP saying the planned celebrations were with an “intent of polarising society”.
“Raja Mahendra Pratap is an illustrious alumni of our university and we greatly respect and honour him. However, we strongly feel that the decision of the Bhartiya Janta Party to suddenly appropriate this iconic freedom fighter stems from the intent of polarising society.”
President AMU Students’ Union Abdullah Azzam said they were not opposed to the seminar, “but we feel, that the VC is succumbing to the pressures mounted by the ruling party at the centre.”
“We fear that the NDA government is trying to erode the autonomy of this institution. This is something which spells danger not only for the AMU, but for the entire educational system in the country,” Azzam said.
Stressing that the decision to hold the seminar is purely an academic exercise, Shah said, “Even if the students’ union may have some reservations on the timing of my announcement, I will ensure that this seminar is held in a proper academic atmosphere.”