Did Union HRD Minister threaten to close down the Aligarh Muslim University campuses while publicly chiding the Vice Chancellor Lt Gen (Retd) Zameerudding Shah?
According to a an article, to be published in Milli Gazette’s March issue, a delegation by Kerala ministers, MPs and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had met Irani in her office in Delhi on 8 January seeking her support for the AMU centre in Malappuram district.
Irani, according to the report, minced no words in expressing her displeasure over the proposal to set up an off campus centre for the AMU in Kerala.
According to a reliable source, she told them bluntly, “This centre and other AMU centres were established without any legal sanction, hence they all will be closed down.”
A visibly angry Irani said, “How you start a centre like this?…What authority the VC has to take such an action. We are not going to give money.” There was no need for the AMU centres. I am going to close them down. We will not give any grant for this purpose.”
Chandy reminded her that the state government had already allocated 345 acres of land in Perinthalmanna taluk of Malappuram district with an intention to create a full-fledged AMU centre.
Irani shot back, “Take it back!”
It was the same time the VC Gen Shah walked into the room.
Irani asked him, “Why have you come?”
“Ma’am, I have come at the invitation of the Kerala Chief Minister,” explained Gen Shah.
Irani thundered, making it absolutely clear who the boss was here.
“Who pays your salary? Kerala CM or the HRD Ministry? Go back and sit in your room!”
While the humiliated VC made a hasty exit, a stunned CM and his delegation looked on in utter disbelief.
A week later on 14 January, Irani once again met Chandy, but this time in Trivandrum. By then a BJP delegation had reportedly visited the proposed site of the AMU Centre.
Irani reiterated her stand and told Chandy, “We will not give you anything extra!”
In 2010, the AMU had announced setting up of five off-campus centres in Murshidabad, Malappuram, Kishanganj, Bhopal and Pune. They were expected to be fully operational by 2020.
HRD Minister’s rejection of approving schools for these centres is designed to rob them of their attractiveness to the local people where these centre are established.
The decision to set up these centres was taken as part of the central government’s scheme to boost education among Muslim community following the recommendation of Sachar Committee report in 2006
The decision by AMU’s academic and executive councils was approved by the President, who is the Visitor of the university.
AMU administration, when contacted by jantakareporter.com , that it didn’t intend to make any comment.
The university’s PRO, Rahat Abrar, said, “We have nothing to say on this matter.”
Repeated attempts to contact the HRD minister were futile.
( Inputs from Milli Gazette, and Ummid.com)