Aligarh: The Aligarh Muslim University has written to Education Minister Smriti Irani warning of a potential "communal conflagration" in the campus over the BJP's plan to celebrate the birth anniversary of a Jat king on Monday.
In a sharply-worded letter, the university's Vice Chancellor Lt Gen Zameer Uddin Shah has asked the minister to stop the local BJP unit's proposed rally for Raja Mahendra Pratap, a freedom fighter, within the campus.
"If BJP wants to celebrate Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh's birthday then they have all the freedom to do so," said Ram Shankar Katheria, the Minister of State for Education.
The Vice Chancellor has written that the celebrations have "potential of leading to massive student unrest on the AMU campus." He said he had asked the BJP in a meeting to shift the celebrations to land donated by the legendary freedom fighter near the campus, but they have refused, which, he added, would lead to a "confrontation".
"The majority of AMU students are annoyed with this intransigence," he told the minister.
The Vice Chancellor also expressed concern that a rival political party had vowed to stop the event. "This political gamesmanship, if allowed to proceed, has potential for serious trouble," he said, asserting that "AMU does not want to get involved in politics."
The university has received an acknowledgement from the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
The BJP's parliamentarian from Aligarh, Satish Gautam, accuses the university of insulting a legend.
"On the 1st, we will celebrate his (Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh's) birthday. If the Vice Chancellor wants to celebrate in AMU, I welcome it. If that's not the case, then the BJP has decided that we will celebrate the birthday within AMU... No doubt about it," Mr Gautam said.
The state's ruling Samajwadi Party alleges that the BJP wants to stir trouble in AMU, one of India's most respected universities. "BJP has no work except to make brothers fight," said Zamir Ullah, a Samajwadi legislator.
The new controversy comes days after the university faced searing criticism over its decades-old policy of not allowing some women students to use its main library. The ban has now ended, after a court order on Tuesday.