New Delhi: Even though there is no confirmation from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Narendra Modi becoming the chief guest at the Jamia Millia Islamia's annual convocation, there is already a sense of resentment over his possible visit among students of the university.
Talking to IANS, Jamia vice chancellor Talat Ahmad said: "We have not received any confirmation from the PMO yet."
After the Batla House encounter in September 2008, Modi had remarked that Jamia Millia Islamia was a breeding ground for terrorists.
Addressing a gathering in Gujarat, Modi 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 remarks came after the then Jamia vice chancellor Mushirul Hasan had said the university would provide legal assistance to two of its students arrested for their suspected involvement in terror activities.
Reports of Modi's visit had created a lot of resentment among the students of the university, to the extent that they are even considering writing to the vice chancellor on this issue and also boycotting the convocation.
"What he had remarked about the university is reprehensible and it doesn't befit a chief minister to make such a statement. He had said the Jamia is a breeding ground for terrorists. Indirectly he meant the students were terrorists. We won't accept the degree from Modi and we'll even talk to the students to boycott the convocation if Modi comes as the chief guest," said Choudhary Imran Khan, a research scholar at the university and convener of Jamia Students Forum (JSF).
Khalid, a final year engineering student, said: "It is a matter of shame on the part of the administration to invite Modi for the convocation. This is an insult to the students and teachers' community of the university. This is just a ploy to present him as a secular person. But, we all know about his affiliations. First, Modi should apologise for this statement that he made after the fake Batla House encounter in 2008 about the university."
Another final year MBA student, Meeran Haider, said: "We'll write to the vice chancellor demanding that Modi should first retract his 2008 statement and apologise for it, else we are considering boycotting the convocation. We are also having meetings with the students and teachers. If he comes, it will hurt the sentiment of the students of the university. If he retracts his statement, then we'll welcome him."
But there were a few others who supported Modi's visit to the university.
"Look Jamia is a central university and as the prime minister it is his duty to come and see what the university is all about. I am fine with his visit. At least, he will know Jamians are not terrorist," said Eram Eqbal, a second year MA Development Communication student.
Prof KS Kusuma of AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, however, said: "I think this is a welcome move. In the last few years, a variety of fields have been introduced in the university. A lot of good things are happening in the university and it will help the international media focus on them. Modi's visit will help collaboration with many foreign universities and encourage students exchange. As an academician, I am more concerned about collaborations and funding for the university."