Thursday, Oct 30, 2014

Protest over invite to BJP MP forces AMU teachers to shift iftar venue

Written by Lalmani Verma | Lucknow | Posted: July 14, 2014 5:53 am

Five months after teachers and other staff of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) opposed the visit of Samajwadi Party (SP) president Mulayam Singh Yadav to the campus protesting Muzaffarnagar riots, a section of university students —- reportedly associated with the ruling party —- Saturday opposed the visit of BJP’s Baghpat MP Satyapal Singh.

Singh was invited as chief guest for an iftar party on the campus.

Following the protest, event organisers had to shift the venue to a private guest house outside the campus.

The iftar was announced to be held at AMU Staff Club on the campus Saturday evening. A section of AMU teachers and employees had organised the event and had distributed invitation cards too carrying name of Singh as the chief guest.

But a day before the event, a group of students, who are associated with SP, opposed Singh’s visit and threatened to hurl shoes and eggs on the MP. Failing to resolve the issue, organisers had to change the venue to Habib Garden guest house near the campus. The protesters alleged that the iftar was organised by BJP deliberately on AMU campus.

“Iftar was sponsored by BJP, and its MP Satyapal Singh’s visit, too, was politically motivated. It was an attempt to project “communal outfit BJP” as a secular organisation. As Mulayam, being politician, was not allowed to visit the campus a few months back, we protested the visit of Satyapal Singh too,” said Shahzad Alam Barni, former president of AMU student union, who is also associated with SP. Several other former student leaders who are now associated with SP too had opposed the Singh’s visit.

Mulayam was invited to AMU campus in February to attend a seminar in support of the demand for minority status to the university. Following the protest, Mulayam had cancelled his visit.

Barni with other students had met the university administration and teachers association members Friday urging them to cancel the event on campus.

“I had given permission for holding iftar in the staff club. But, the venue was changed after some students opposed BJP MP’s visit,” said Aftab Alam, secretary, AMU Teachers’ Association and AMU Staff Club.

Alam, however, was one of the teachers who attended the iftar at the guesthouse.

Event organiser and care taker of university’s Maulana Azad Library, Mohammad Kaleem, said that he had invited Satyapal Singh as he had family terms with him and both belong to Baghpat. Kaleem denied any political motive behind the event.

Meanwhile, AMU spokesperson Rahat Abrar said that university was not involved in the issue. The event was organised by some teachers and employees while workers of Rashtriya Lok Dal and SP opposed Satyapal’s visit, he added.

Student wing of RLD reportedly torched an effigy of Satyapal Singh on Saturday outside the campus. Satyapal Singh had defeated RLD chief Ajit Singh in the Lok Sabha election.

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