Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not be the chief guest at Jamia Millia Islamia University's convocation owing to time constraint, as per media reports on Tuesday.
Reports said that former IISc director Goverdhan Mehta would be the chief guest.
"We have got a reply from the PMO that the Prime Minister will not be able to visit the university due to time constraints. So, we extended an invite to Goverdhan Mehta who has given his consent following which we decided a suitable date," Jamia spokesperson Mukesh Ranjan said.
Earlier, former students of Jamia university were divided over the invitation to PM Modi to be the chief guest at its annual convocation with a section asking the authorities not to heed to another group which had opposed the invite.
A letter signed by over 100 alumni was sent to Jamia Vice Chancellor Talat Ahmad demanding that the invite be withdrawn in view of the comments made by Modi against the varsity in 2008.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 had said.
The letter, signed by 122 alumni, had stated that they respected the university's decision to extended the invite to Modi.
Jamia had sent the invite to Modi and it had affirmed that the invite will not be withdrawn.
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?" as per PTI.
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.
The varsity today announced that the convocation will be held on January 19 in the Sports Complex (Bhopal Ground) on Jamia campus. The convocation ceremony will also see Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra being conferred with the Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa).
"Degrees/Diplomas will be awarded to those candidates who have passed their examinations in the year 2014. Medals will also be given to the toppers of the same year. PhD scholars whose results have been notified up to November 30, 2015 will also be awarded degrees," it added.
(With Agency inputs)