Have great history, proven secular credentials: AMU spokesperson

Agra mayor’s ‘AMU hub of terrorists’ remark. Vice president of Congress in Uttar Pradesh, Upendra Singh, said that the mayor should spend his time taking care of the “task assigned to him”.
Aligarh Muslim University(HTFile)
Aligarh Muslim University(HTFile)
Published on Feb 04, 2019 02:36 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Agra

Mayor of Agra Naveen Jain’s remark on Saturday, in which he asked the Aligarh administration to take stringent measures to save the AMU from becoming an ‘adda’ (hub) of ‘terrorists’, has evoked a strong response from the university fraternity and the Congress party.

Reacting to Jain’s comment, Aligarh Muslim University spokesperson Shafey Kidwai said, “The remark came from a political person and AMU is an academic institution. Only those in politics can respond to the comment made. Our university has got a great history and proven secular credentials.”

“We have given the president of the nation, Dr Zakir Hussain, the vice president, Hamid Ansari, and the chief minister of Delhi, Sahib Singh Verma. Two of our students, late Dr Zakir Hussain and ‘Frontier Gandhi’, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, received the Bharat Ratna. Eminent personalities in various fields such as Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, Javed Akhtar, Sardar Jafri, Saadat Hasan Manto, Ismat Chughtai, Naseeruddin Shah, Anubhav Sinha and leading cardiologist Dr Ashok Seth have studied here. Sportspersons Zafar Iqbal and Lala Amarnath were from AMU. So, AMU’s credentials need no certification,” said Kidwai.

The response from the AMU students’ union was sharper. Huzaifa Aamir Rashadi, secretary AMUSU, said, “The reason behind the mayor’s remark is his ideology, as he is from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Naveen Jain should know that AMU has given a number of scientists, doctors and politicians to society. How can he use such words for an institution that celebrates the Republic Day with weeklong programmes and is known worldwide for its secular values -- having students from all faiths and cross-sections of society?”

“Let the mayor compare the history of his party with that of the AMU,” he added.

Vice president of Congress in Uttar Pradesh, Upendra Singh, said that the mayor should spend his time taking care of the “task assigned to him”.

“He needs to keep Agra clean and spruced up. Instead, he is looking beyond Agra. Despite being an international city, Agra is unclean and the mayor is making such statements. This is the BJP’s mentality -- to divide society. That is why its mayor is making such comments about an institution that is renowned for its values,” he said.

Singh alleged that the BJP was frustrated after losing three states (MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh) and was thus resorting to “such tactics”. “Whatever they do, they are bound to go now,” he added.

Jain’ controversial remarks were made during a press conference called by Lok Sabha MP Ram Shankar Katheria to hail the interim budget.

The mayor had said: “AMU is turning out to be a home for terrorists. Stringent measures are required to save it from becoming an ‘adda’ for terrorists. The Aligarh administration should take steps to weed out such terrorist element from the university premises.”

“Such a situation is not to be tolerated and the first step should be removing the word ‘Muslim’ from name of the university,” Jain said, while complaining that “anti-national slogans” were raised on the varsity campus.

His demand came despite the Supreme Court dismissing a PIL last month that sought a change in the university’s name.

Jain gave no indication as to what sparked his tirade against the AMU. He demanded a probe into “who was providing rooms to those having anti-national inclination and seeking ‘azadi’ from India”.

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