• MANUU students take on university chancellor Firoz Ahmed, who used university letter pad to pen support for CAA and NRC
  • MANUU Chancellor Firoz Ahmed pen support for CAA and NRC using varsity letter pad; students and teachers aren’t taking it well

Hyderabad:A letter by Firoz Bakht Ahmed, stating that CAA and NRC are not against Muslims has snowballed into a political controversy. Mr Firoz Ahmed is the chancellor of the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) in Hyderabad.

The students and teachers of MANUU, who have been holding protests following the Jamia Millia Islamia incident, were irked by the incident. They questioned the chancellor’s use of university letter pad to express his personal opinion supporting the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and National Register of Citizens.

The letter, dated December 20, reads, “I appeal to everyone not to get into the clutches of politicians who want to break India. Kindly avoid taking to the roads, and strengthen the hands of your Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I vouch for the PM, who is your well-wisher, as his slogan for Muslims has been ‘Ek hath mein Quran, Ek hath mein computer’. Please don’t toe the line of the ones misleading you, as you are very precious for India.”

The chancellor told a news portal that he has been receiving several abusive calls from protesting students ever since he issued the letter. “Some of them called me a BJP and RSS bhakt and stooge,” Firoz Bakht said. Umar Farooq, President of MANUU student’s union, was one of the first callers to question the chancellor for using university letter pad to express his personal opinion.

The conversation between them (audio in possession with NewsMeter) turned into a verbal spat. After confirming with Firoz, that the latter had indeed written the letter, Umar asked, “What is this sir? When scores of concern Indian citizens, besides the Muslim community are protesting the CAA, how can you represent MANUU and issue such a statement? Why did you use the university letter pad?

Firoz Ahmed replied that he hadn’t stopped their protest nor interfered in campus activities. “You have no business with what I do. MANUU’s reputation is dinted because of the vice-chancellor,” he added. When Umar said that they wouldn’t let him into the campus, the chancellor replied that if they want to stop or kill him, they could do it. “However, don’t take the law into your hands. All I want is for students to concentrate on their studies and not fringe into politics.”

The student’s union president replied, “Sir, you can continue to write your letter but don’t stop us from protesting. Besides, the letter does not represent MANUU’s opinion as a whole. Please stop bootlicking the BJP and the RSS.”

Umar is one among many, as the letter has not gone well among protesting students and teachers, especially since it carries the universities letterhead. The conversation also indicated a rift between Firoz Ahmed and MANUU’s vice-chancellor Aslam Parvaiz. The latter resigned in November in the wake of tension on campus since Ahmad was appointed as the chancellor.

Coreena Suares

Coreena Enet Suares is the Editor of NewsMeter. Her stories have been published in the Deccan Chronicle Newspaper and the Asian Age. Coreena began her career as a News Anchor. Throughout her journey, she has been able to build a strong network with people from all walks of life. She is an alumnus of Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists- Research and Investigation, a flagship initiative of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP)

Coreena is also a certified fact-checker by Google India Initiative. She has attended the 'Defence Correspondents Course 2019, through which she visited Indo- Pak border, besides traveling on a War-ship and insight into operations of Fighter aircraft. Coreena's focus areas are anti-crime investigation agencies and Defence reporting.

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