January 15, 2015 1:03:47 pm
Accused in Muzaffarnagar riots, Kunwar Bharatendra Singh, an MP from Bijnor, has been elected as a member of the Court of Aligarh Muslim University – the supreme governing body of the varsity.
Singh and five other MPs were elected to the AMU court by Lok Sabha members on December 12 last year through a motion moved by Agra MP and MoS for HRD Ram Shankar Katheria on behalf of Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani. The election of the MPs to AMU Court was communicated to the varsity by the ministry recently.
Accused of violating prohibitory orders and provoking communal tension by making inflammatory speeches during a panchayat meet in Muzaffarnagar in 2013, Singh was arrested on October 17, 2013. The BJP leader, then an MLA from Bijnor, was subsequently released on bail. The Muzaffarnagar clashes had claimed 65 lives.
Local MP Satish Kumar Gautam has also been elected to the varsity court. Last year, he created tension in the University by pitching for celebration of Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh’s birth anniversary on the campus.
According to the University spokesperson Rahat Abrar, the others who have been elected are Chaudhary Mehboob Ali Kaiser (Khagaria), Mohammad Badaruddoza Khan (Murshidabad), Bhola Singh (Bulandshahr) and Rajveer Singh (Etah). Rajveer is the son of former UP chief minister and Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh.
The six MPs have been appointed for a period of three years or till such time as they remain members of the Lok Sabha, whichever is earlier. Reacting to the development, honorary secretary of AMU Teachers’ Association Aftab Alam said: “The government could have avoided nominating an MP who has been accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots. This is like rubbing salt on the wounds of Muslims.”
“Riot accused Kunwar Bharatendra shouldn’t have been elected to the AMU court. It is an academic institution so only non-communal and educationally qualified persons should be elected,” said former AMU Students’ Union president Shahzad Alam and noted that Satish Gautam was only Class X-pass.
Incumbent Students’ Union president Abdullah Azzam termed it a “Black Day for AMU Court” and declared that “we will resist this move to the best of our abilities”.
“Along with Kunwar Bharatendra, Satish Gautam and Rajveer Singh have a proven track record of playing the politics of hate and division…It is inexplicable why these particular parliamentarians were made members…when they have displayed no previous interest in issues of higher education or academics,” Azzam said.
He said that, “This is a slap in the face of the entire AMU fraternity…We believe this step has been taken with the sole purpose of creating communal tension in AMU and soiling our longstanding traditions of harmony and brotherhood. We also believe that this issue is not limited to AMU, but a reflection of the larger aims of the communal fascist forces currently in power”.
The AMU court is a 190-member body, comprising Chancellor, Pro-Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Pro-VC, honorary treasurer, all former VCs, deans of faculties, directors of AMU centres and others. Ten MPs are also elected to be members of the court – six from Lok Sabha and four from Rajya Sabha. Currently, only two Rajya Sabha MPs are members of the body – Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and K N Balagopal.
The court elects the Chancellor as well as the Pro-Chancellor of the University. Even the selection of Vice-Chancellor has to pass through the Court. After the executive council recommends five names, the court shortlists three names which are then sent to the Visitor of the University – President of India – who then appoints a Vice Chancellor.
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