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AMU VC to meet Modi to clear air on off-campus centres; denies Irani insulted him

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Aligarh: AMU Vice Chancellor Zameer Uddin Shah said on Thursday that he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to clarify issues related to the controversial off-campus AMU centres.

Shah, a retired lt. general, also denied that he was insulted by Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani when he went to her house in New Delhi for a meeting on January 8.

“It would take a lot to humiliate a veteran of the Longewala Battle of 1971 who spent the better part of his 40 years in the army fighting insurgencies in Punjab and North-East and dousing communal passions in various riots,” he said in a statement.

Shah maintained that Irani had refused to fund the AMU centres in Malapuram in Kerala, Kishanganj in Bihar and Murshidabad in West Bengal.

He said the Aligarh Muslim University Act of 1920 allowed the university to have these centres, including the one in Malappuram, and two more in Bhopal and Pune.

“However, it is apparent that a certain AMU alumnus has wrongly informed the minister that the centres have been established illegally,” he said.

The vice chancellor said he would meet Modi soon “to resolve the problems”.

Irani insists that the AMU off-campus centres have been established illegally and that her ministry won’t fund them.

At the January 8 meeting, she even told Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to take back the land allotted to the AMU centre.

Shah said media reports over the issue were aimed at tarnishing the AMU’s image.

“I will reserve further comments on this,” said the vice chancellor, on his failure to hold discussions with the HRD minister on January 8 in the presence of the Kerala chief minister.

“The chief minster informed me that the HRD minister was adamant that the AMU centres were illegally established and would not be funded by her ministry despite being told that they had been approved by the AMU Executive Council and the president of India,” he said.

The five off-campus centres were supposed to be fully functional by 2020. Only those in Kerala, West Bengal and Bihar are partially working but without any schools.

The centres had got the approval of the country’s president, who is the AMU’s Visitor, in 2010.

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