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Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla Named Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia

Dr Najma Heptulla, governor of Manipur and former Union minister for minority affairs, is the new Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia. She was unanimously elected as Chancellor (Amir-e-Jamia) of the university for five years by the University’s Court (Anjuman) on May 25, 2017. The 77-year-old succeeds Lt Gen (Retd) MA Zaki, and her tenure began on May 26.

Eram Agha | News18.comEramAgha

Updated:May 29, 2017, 8:12 PM IST
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Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla Named Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia
File photo of Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla. (PTI)
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New Delhi: Dr Najma Heptulla, governor of Manipur and former Union minister for minority affairs, is the new Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia.

She was unanimously elected as Chancellor (Amir-e-Jamia) of the university for five years by the University’s Court (Anjuman) on May 25, 2017. The 77-year-old succeeds Lt Gen (Retd) MA Zaki, and her tenure began on May 26.

Grand-niece of India’s first education minister, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Heptulla has been a five-time member of the Rajya Sabha between 1986 and 2012 and Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha for sixteen years. She served as the minister for minority affairs in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet, before being appointed as the Governor of Manipur.

As the minority affairs minister, Heptulla stoked a controversy by reportedly naming all Indians as “Hindus”. After much brouhaha, she clarified her stand by saying that she called “all Indians Hindi, the Arabic term for people living in India,” and that what she said had nothing to do with religion but with nationality.

There was much condemnation from minority groups after she, as minority affairs minister, had said “Muslims don’t require reservation, and should instead work towards self-reliance.” She stood for PM Modi’s policies like “Stand Up India” and argued with leaders like Asaduddin Owaisi in Lok Sabha.

After her selection, the Vice Chancellor of JMI, Prof Talat Ahmad said in a press statement, “The University will be greatly benefited from her rich experience in both political and public life. It will be our privilege to work with her and to learn from her distinguished career in Parliament and internationally.” He thanked the outgoing Chancellor for his unstinting support and guidance.

After the announcement some students of JMI started the social media campaign with #Save_JMI.

Meeran Haider, a student of Jamia said in a statement, "We strongly condemn the appointment of Najma Heptullah. She is a BJP leader who will promote and implement Saffron agenda in our University. This is going to damage the secular credentials of our University."

Students also condemned JMI VC for sending a congratulatory statement on her appointment. The note said, "This is high time for everyone in Jamia to think seriously about the ongoing conspiracy being framed to damage the identity of JMI".

Heptulla has had the distinction of presiding over the women parliamentarians’ group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in 1993. She was elected President of Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), a Geneva-based international organization, from 1999 to 2002. She was nominated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as its human development ambassador. She has authored a book, “AIDS: Approaches to Prevention” and has also written on human social security, sustainable development, environment, reforms for women and on ties between India and West Asia.

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| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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