Hundreds of people staged a dharna and took out a march in Bihar's Kishanganj district on Wednesday, demanding Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's government to immediately allot 250 acres of land for the dff-campus Branch of the Aligarh Muslim University.
"All the business establishments remained closed and thousands of people came out in support of our demand," Maulana Asrar-ul-Haque Qasmi, the Congress member of Parliament from Kishanganj, who is spearheading the movement, told rediff.com over telephone.
He said that response of the people was overwhelming. "Now we will intensify our protest, and to expose the CM's two-faced stand on the issue." he said.
The protest was organised under the banner of Educational Movement for AMU Centre, which has its convenor and patrons.
Three members of Legislative Assembly of Kishanganj and two from nearby Uttar Dinajpur district of West Bengal are also part of this movement, which came into existence a few months ago to protest against the Nitish-led National Democratic Alliance government's lukewarm response to the proposal.
"Frm the security point of view, we have deployed more than 500 security personnel to maintain law and order," a district official said.
On September 12, locals, MPs and MLAs from Kishanganj had submitted a memorandum to the district magistrate. The letter was addressed to Kumar, demanding land for the AMU centre.
Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal, Lok Janashakti Party and Nationalist Congress Party leaders alleged that the NDA government in Bihar is under pressure from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to not allot the land
"The Bharatiya Janata Party and the RSS are opposing the demand for the centre in Kishanganj, a Muslim-dominated district in Bihar" RJD MLA Ahtarul Iman said.
According to a senior AMU official, the university vice chancellor in 2008 had informed the Bihar government of the Centre's decision to open the AMU centre in the state and had asked for a single plot of land measuring 250-to 300 acres to begin construction.
But the State government acquired the required land in three separate parts (along Bahadurganj-Thakurganj Road, located around 6 to 7 km from Kishanganj), instead of making the land available in Katihar.
"Since beginning, the Bihar government has been creating trouble regarding this issue," a senior AMU official told rediff.com. AMU authorities had objected to the land being made available in three separate places.
Last week, Bihar Minister fro Human Resource Development, P K Sahi alleged that the AMU VC was 'doing politics' over the issue and had not obtained the required sanction from President Pratibha Patil, who is visitor of the university.
The Centre had decided to open the AMU centres in five states with an estimated expenditure of Rs 2,000 crore in keeping with Sachchar Commission report. One centre was opened at Murshidabad in West Bengal and another in Kerala.