Ahead of PM Modi’s address, AMU faculty calls for unity
The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) administration bolstered security and senior faculty members called for unity on Thursday after some campus student groups opposed Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the chief guest of the institution’s centenary celebrations on December 22. On Wednesday, AMU vice chancellor Professor Tariq Mansoor announced that Modi will attend the online function with Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank via video conference on December 22. Extending gratitude to the Prime Minister, Mansoor said that the outreach will help in the growth and development of the institution.
Modi will be the first PM to address an AMU event since Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1964. He will be speaking to the university and its members for the first time. The PM is also expected to release a commemorative stamp on AMU’s centenary year during the interaction. But some groups on campus opposed the announcement, prompting the administration to step up vigilance and senior professors to appeal for calm. “We need to work together in the interest of the university. We appeal to everyone to celebrate the centenary programme above politics…centenary celebrations are to be kept above differences,” read a statement signed by 12 of the senior most faculty members. The university has also taken steps to ensure that the programme is not disrupted, and avert any disturbance on campus. “It would be an online programme with links issued through NIC (National Information Center) and participants from AMU would be at registrar office,” stated Shafey Kidwai, the public relation officer for AMU. The faculty members requested protesting students to come on board.
“We must not lose sight of the fact that the centenary is a great landmark achievement in the history of any university. Our unity on the occasion will bring greater confidence among various university units and alumni associations, who are engaged in organising programmes with illustrious people as the guests,” they wrote.
This came after former AMU Students’ Union (AMUSU) vice-president Nadeem Ansari, now a Samajwadi Party leader, opposed invitation to PM Modi. “Vice Chancellor Tariq Mansoor’s vested interest will be served through PM Modi’s participation. If anything goes wrong, the V-C will be responsible,” said Ansari. Other student groups also pointed out that the Centre opposed the university’s minority status appeal in the Supreme Court.
The university and its students hit the headlines in recent years for opposing several government moves, including the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Last year, on December 15, the university turned into a war zone as protesting students clashed with security forces, resulting in several injuries