Aligarh Muslim University:
The Aligarh Muslim University Vice-Chancellor Lt General Zameeruddin Shah (retd) on Thursday wrote to the Human Resource Development Minister regarding the recent development on the activities related to Raja Mahendra Pratap’s birth anniversary celebrations inside AMU campus. General Shah has appealed that AMU does not want to get involved in politics and the University needs the Ministry’s earnest support urgently as there is a serious threat to law and order.
In the letter addressed to the HRD Minister, Smt Smriti Irani, General said that the plans of certain elements at Aligarh to celebrate “Raja Mahendra Pratap Day” inside AMU Campus on 01 December 2014 (his anniversary) has potential of leading to massive student unrest on the AMU campus.
The Vice Chancellor, General Shah also said that the reason advanced by these elements is that Raja Mahendra Pratap donated large tracts of land for the establishment of AMU and that he should be honoured accordingly. He pointed out that the University acknowledges that Raja Mahendra Pratap did lease 1.221 hectares (3.04 acres) of land in 1929 at Rs.2/- per annum to AMU. Moreover, we are proud of the fact that this freedom fighter was our alumnus. Besides, him however, there were a large number of other donors. The bulk of the land was procured from the British Government which was in the process of closing down the Aligarh “Chhawani” (Cantonment) from which Sir Syed got 74 acres. The Vice Chancellor has also sent a list of other donors to the HRD Ministry.
General Shah further said: In view of the threat of disturbance from these people claiming to be affiliated to various political party / outfits, another political outfit opposing them joined the fray and announced that they would not allow the rally to be held.
He also stated that there is a fear if this political gamesmanship, if allowed to proceed, has potential for serious trouble. General Shah also informed that the Ex Servicemen League of Aligarh District were requested by him and offered their help to resolve the problem. The Vice-Chancellor further said: A meeting with these people, who threatened to hold the celebrations on AMU campus, was arranged on 25 November 2014 at Vice-Chancellor’s Lodge with a representative each of the various outfits making the demand. The Registrar, Proctor, Controller of Examinations and the President, Vice-President and Secretary of the Students’ Union attended the meeting.
The AMU Vice-Chancellor also said that the University officials had a cordial meeting of 1Â½ hours in which a decision was taken that there was a need to diffuse the tense situation and there would be a joint celebration at the “Tikonia Ground” of 1.221 hectares (3.04 acres) leased by Raja Mahendra Pratap to AMU on 01 December 2014.
He said that however the next morning the newspapers carried stories of the meeting and senior functionaries of the parties / outfits voiced their objections. The top brass of the outfits concerned have stated to the press that the meeting was held without their authorization, said General Shah who added that they (certain political outfits) now want to change the venue and demand that the meeting be held inside the AMU City High School. This will lead to a confrontation. The majority of AMU students therefore are annoyed with this intransigence.
The Vice Chancellor also pointed out that in addition to the above, the families of other donors (what to say of those who have given land on lease) have jumped into the fray and also want celebrations for their ancestors, who were donors.
General Shah maintained that the University celebrates only the Sir Syed (founder’s) Day and cannot have a myriad of celebrations, although the generosity of donors is acknowledged.
While stating that under these circumstances it is unwise to hold any meeting on 01 December 2014, the Vice-Chancellor has requested that Hon’ble MPs who are issuing statements be advised to exercise a sobering influence and a similar request is being made to opposing parties.