Jamia alumni divided over convocation invite to PM Modi

New Delhi: Former students of Jamia Millia Islamia university are divided over the invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be the chief guest at its annual convocation with a section today asking the authorities not to heed to another group which had opposed the invite.

Last week, a letter signed by over 100 alumni was sent to Jamia Vice Chancellor Talat Ahmad demanding that the invite be withdrawn in view of the comments made by Modi against the varsity in 2008. However, the demand was rejected by the university.

“We support your decision to extend an invitation to the Prime Minister and we are looking forward to welcome him in university campus. We urge you not to change your decision in view of protests by certain alumni,” a letter sent to the VC today said.

The letter, signed by 122 alumni, states that they respect the university’s decision to extended the invite to Modi.

Jamia had earlier this month sent the invite to Modi. Though the varsity is yet to receive any acceptance or acknowledgment from the PMO in this regard, it had affirmed that the invite will not be withdrawn.

“Jamia has been inviting constitutional authorities for its convocation since its inception. Similarly, an invite has been extended to the Prime Minister because of him being a constitutional authority who has also been elected by the people of India,” varsity spokesperson Mukesh Ranjan had said.

“The students or the alumni are free to have their opinion in the democratic country but we are looking forward to host Modi at the university and will announce the convocation date as soon as we get a suitable time from him,” Ranjan added.

The protests by certain alumni come in wake of the fact that Modi had attacked Jamia in 2008 after the Batla House encounter in September that year.

Addressing a gathering in Gujarat, he had said, “There is a university in Delhi called Jamia Millia Islamia. It has publicly announced that it will foot the legal fee of terrorists involved in act. Go drown yourself. This Jamia Millia is being run on government money and it is daring to spend money on lawyers to get terrorists out of jail. When will this vote bank politics end?”

Modi’s comments had come following a statement by then Jamia VC Mushirul Hasan that the university would offer legal aid to two of its students arrested for their suspected involvement in terror activities.