Sharukh’s bid to woo Muslim students ‘aborted’ by AMU admin

By Kulsum Mustafa,,

Lucknow: Sharukh Khan’s recent eagerness to reach out to the students of Aligarh Muslim University and address them in the University campus certainly had a larger mission behind it. It was a well planned move to initiate substantial support from Muslim masses, specially the youth, before the release of his mega film ‘My name is Khan’ due for release in February. But as things stands according to the AMU authorities the January 23rd visit stands cancelled. But if sources in the Khan camp are to be believed it is just a ‘postponement’ and Khan is determined to have his date with the AMU students at a later date.

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This was to be the maiden visit of the Super Star to AMU and the announcement of this had generated a lot of excitement in the campus. But the fact that the administration, suffering from the after pangs of the recent violent stirs chickened out at the last minute.

It may be remembered that violent stirs over the murder of a student late last year forced the administration to close down AMU sine die on October 30. It was re-opened only on December 1, and that too in shifts. Since then the Vice-Chancellor Professor P K Abdul Azis is not taking any chances and taking every step pertaining to students with great caution. The administration would not like to do anything that will ruffle any feathers. In this case there was bound to be a confrontation as the AMU had allowed only two percent of the students to participate in the programme. A great disappointment hangs over the campus due to this cancellation.

Many reasons are being cited by the University authorities for the cancellation. The administration says it is not they but the bad weather that has played foul with the visit.

According official sources in the vice chancellor’s office at the University, the decision to postpone the programme was taken by the advance team sent by Sharukh that had visited the campus. “It was Sharukh who decided to put off the visit in view of the intense cold and fog that is affecting both air and rail traffic,” said a senior professor of the University.

But sources in the students community insist that the AMU administration chickened out at the last minute due to great pressure from the students to make it an all-public affair rather than the event participation in which being confined to just a ‘select few students from each faculty.”

The programme was slated to be held at Kennedy Hall which has a capacity of 1675. The University has 32,000 students. According to students, big events like the annual convocation are always organized at the Athletic ground which has a capacity to accommodate nearly 30,000.

The students’ version was endorsed when Sharukh told a senior scribe in an interview in Mumbai that he is very keen to meet the student and that he will meet them soon. It is also said that Sharukh communication wing has also planned an interaction with Urdu dailies’ scribes in Lucknow.

It is clear that the publicity wing of King Khan is going all out to ensure that star re-establishes a ‘connect’ with his Muslim brethren before the release of the film.