State Minister Azam Khan’s Mohammad Ali Jauhar University in Rampur district has refused to accept any condition regarding what functions to be held at a proposed pandal — permanent in nature — to come up in the campus.
While Azam is the university’s Chancellor, his wife, Tazeen Fatima, is the pro-Chancellor.
The pandal was first proposed by SP president Mulayam Singh Yadav, who had, during his birthday celebrations in November last year at the university, asked Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to get a huge pandal constructed for cultural activities at the campus.
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The proposal was accepted and the state culture department, on February 26, sanctioned the first instalment of Rs 2 crore of the total Rs 12.36 crore. It, however, set a condition that the pandal has to be made available for government functions when asked by the district magistrate.
University Registrar R A Qureshi, in a letter to Special Secretary (Culture) Ram Vishal Mishra, has expressed concern over attaching pre-conditions for giving grant to construct the pandal (a type of auditorium) in the campus.
Qureshi’s letter, which was circulated in the media, stated: “Officials with anti-Muslim mentality, who do not want to see children of poor Muslims studying, want to destroy the university.” He added that that “no condition will be accepted for receiving the grant” for the pandal’s construction.
In his letter, Qureshi asserted that regardless of whether one belongs to the government, no one will be allowed to hold functions at the pandal. He made it clear that “the university will not be involved in any such act for which it may be targeted in the future under a different government”.
Qureshi added that the university was “seriously considering returning the Rs 10-crore grant” given by the Akhilesh government for the establishment of a medical college within the university campus. He also requested that the sanctioned pandal be immediately cancelled.
When contacted, Mishra said: “I was on leave and so not aware of any such letter.”
When the Registrar’s office was contacted, the call was answered by one Kaleem who claimed to be a staff of the university. He said he has no information about the letter. Administrative Officer Akbar Masood gave a similar response.