AMU Debate Heats Up In Parliament, The Quint Reported It First


Heated debate in the upper house over HRD Minister Smriti Irani threatening to shut down AMU’s off-campus centres. (Photo: amu.ac.in)
Heated debate in the upper house over HRD Minister Smriti Irani threatening to shut down AMU’s off-campus centres. (Photo: amu.ac.in)

AMU Debate Heats Up In Parliament, The Quint Reported It First

Union HRD Minister, Smriti Irani has ‘threatened’ to close down five off-campus centres of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). These centres were sanctioned by the UPA government in 2008 on the recommendation of the Sachar Committee Report.

In an exclusive conversation with The Quint’s Rishika Baruah on 1 March, the AMU Vice Chancellor, Zameer Uddin Shah denied reports of being abused by the minister but lashed out at her for ‘threatening’ to close down the AMU off-campus centres.

I was not present at the meeting. You should ask the (Kerala) Chief Minister’s office. But yes, I was told that Smriti Irani said that the centres were illegal and threatened to close them down. But I intend to keep them running. Aligarh Muslim University’s founder Syed Ahmad Khan had set up the university not just for the education of Muslims in Aligarh, but for the Muslims of India.
Lt Gen (Retd) Zameer Uddin Shah, Vice Chancellor, Aligarh Muslim University

Also Read: Wasn’t Insulted But Smriti Irani is Hampering AMU’s Growth: VC

AMU Debate Rocks Rajya Sabha

There was a heated debate in the upper house of the Parliament accusing the central government of doublespeak on the AMU issue. Opposition members also questioned the government’s stand on ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’. The attack was led by Samajwadi Party MP, Javed Ali Khan, while, Sharad Yadav, Sitaram Yechury and Digvijay Singh accused the government of polarisation.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi clarified that the government is committed to protecting the interest of minorities.

After The Quint’s Report, VC Issues Press Statement

Vice Chancellor Shah, issued a press statement earlier today, reiterating what he said to The Quint.

After the meeting, Chandy told me that the HRD Minister was adamant that the AMU centres were illegally set up and will not be funded by the HRD Ministry, despite being told that they had been approved by the highest policy making- bodies - AMU’s Executive Council and Court, Government of India and the Visitor (President of India). 
Lt Gen (Retd) Zameer Uddin Shah, Vice Chancellor, Aligarh Muslim University

Denying that he was insulted by the minister, he added:

It would take a lot to humiliate a veteran of the Longewala Battle of 1971 who spent the better part of his 40 years in the army fighting insurgencies in Punjab and North-East and dousing communal passions in various riots.