Aligarh: Aligarh Muslim University Vice Chancellor Tariq Mansoor today welcomed the end of the campus protest triggered by the Jinnah portrait row, describing it as a Ramzan gift to the entire AMU community.
In an interview to PTI to mark his one year in office, Mansoor said, "I laud AMU students for exercising their democratic right to protest while totally maintaining exemplary discipline and communal harmony on the campus."
"During the entire protest in which thousands of students participated, not a single act of vandalism took place and despite grave provocation by certain forces inimical to this institution, the boys held on to the AMU's traditional universal values of large-hearted tolerance and the brotherhood of mankind," he said.The AMU was at the centre of a controversy over a portrait of Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah that has been on the walls of the student union office for decades.
The AMU Students' Union (AMUSU) had given a call for a boycott of classes and activists took part in a hunger strike and a sit-in for about a fortnight, demanding a judicial enquiry into the violence on the campus.
The student union demanded action against members of right-wing organisations who had barged into the campus, demanding the removal of the portrait after BJP MP Satish Gautam raised the issue with the AMU.
They also sought action against the police officers responsible for a lathi-charge on AMU students in a clash with them over the entry of the protesters into the campus. Referring to the Islamic holy month, Mansoor said, This is a month of peace and introspection and I hope that when the student community begins the next academic year, we will review both our gains and also our shortcomings."
"During the past one year, despite pulls and pressures from all sides, the AMU community has remained steadfast in its commitment to the cause of building a united, harmonious and strong India," he said.
"Despite the attempts to vilify us by certain forces, we did not allow them to deter us from our path," he added. He said the university has taken commendable steps for becoming a centre of excellence in higher education in the country During the past year, the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College in AMU has carved out a place among the top 10 medical education institutions in the country, he said.
The University Grants Commission has sanctioned Rs 20 crore for the establishment of a College of Nursing and an Institute of Paramedical Sciences at the medical college, he said.
The government has also sanctioned Rs 16 crore for the newly established Centre for Paediatric Cardiology and Cardiovascular Surgery, he said.
The University has expanded its presence on the international scene by signing collaborative projects with institutes like Brooklyn College (University of New York, USA), International Islamic University in Malaysia and Massachusetts General Hospital in Somerville, USA.
"Many other similar proposals are on the anvil," the VC said. The Human Resource Development Ministry has sanctioned 16 new research projects, including a prestigious Rs 4 crore project for the Centre of Nanotechnology. The AMU has become a leading player in this field in the country, he said.
Mansoor said PhD seats have increased from 590 to 940 in the current academic year.
"This will go a long way in helping talented young researchers in creating a space for themselves in different streams of knowledge," he said.
The AMU is playing a critical role in the National Mission for Clean Ganga, the VC said.
"Our scientists are playing a very notable role in vital environmental projects, he said, also listing the AMU initiatives in solar energy. He said over thousand AMU students have been offered jobs through campus placement drives in which national and international companies like HDFC, Wipro, L&T, Voltas, TCS, Mahindra & Mahindra, Hero Motors and Tata Steel visited the campus.