Aligarh Muslim University vice chancellor on Friday wrote to Human resource development (HRD) minister Smriti Irani, warning of "communal conflagration" if the BJP goes ahead with plans to mark the birth anniversary of freedom fighter Raja Mahendra Pratap in the varsity premises.
Without naming the BJP in his letter, vice chancellor Zameer Uddin Shah said if "certain elements" go ahead with their plans to hold a demonstration at AMU on December 1, "it could lead to massive student unrest at the campus".
The debate started after some BJP leaders decided to hold a demonstration on the campus on the birth anniversary of Raja Mahendra Pratap, an alumnus of AMU, whose family was closely associated with Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the founder of the institution.
"Some elements are threatening to hold a demonstration on the grounds that Raja Mahendra Pratap donated large tracts of land for establishment of AMU and should be honoured accordingly," the vice chancellor's letter said.
"We have always acknowledged that the Raja did lease 3.04 acres of land to AMU in 1929 at a rate of Rs. 2/- per annum. We are proud of this freedom fighter. However, there were a large number of other donors and the main campus of the AMU was built on a land procured from the British government originally belonging to the Aligarh cantonment," he said.
Some local and state BJP leaders had recently claimed that AMU was built on land donated by Raja Mahendra Pratap but AMU authorities "failed to acknowledge his contribution".
The vice chancellor said that in order to defuse the situation, they had agreed to hold a joint celebration on Raja's birth anniversary
"On November 25, at the instance of some ex-servicemen of this district, who offered to mediate, I held a meeting with representatives of some outfits who are threatening to hold the demonstration.The idea was to defuse the situation and we agreed to hold a joint celebration of the Raja's anniversary".
However, the decision to observe the anniversary has now been revoked due to reports that there are internal differences within the group which was holding the protest, he said.