NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not be the chief guest at Jamia Millia Islamia University's convocation owing to time constraint, as per the authorities on Tuesday.
"We have got a reply from the PMO that the Prime Minister will not be able to visit the university due to time constraints of prior engagements, which is regretted. So, we have 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A letter signed by over 100 alumni was sent to Jamia Vice Chancellor Talat Ahmad demanding that the invite be withdrawn in view of the comments made by Modi against the varsity in 2008.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Jamia had sent the invite to Modi and it had affirmed that the invite will not be withdrawn.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.
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).