Aligarh/New Delhi: The controversy over Gujarat riots that former vice-chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Lt Gen Zameeruddin Shah started has landed at former vice president Hamid Ansari’s doorstep. Former AMU media advisor Dr Jasim Mohammad, who heads the Forum for Muslim Studies and Analysis in Aligarh, has petitioned Ansari not to release Shah’s book, The Sarkari Musalman.

The upcoming autobiography claims that the Army deployment during the 2002 Gujarat riots was deliberately delayed by the state government for 24 hours. The truth is far from it. Media accounts and then additional chief secretary Ashok Narayan’s official statement contradict Shah’s claim.

Media reports from March 1, 2002 show that the army had begun flag marches in the worst-affected Ahmedabad, Baroda and other places on that day, and not the next day as Shah’s book claims.

Shah was the UPA appointee to the AMU post from 2012 an is the brother of actor Naseeruddin Shah.

Mohammad, a former official of the varsity, has called out the “false claims” made in Shah’s book, relying on his own eyewitness account.

In a letter written to former vice-president Ansari, Mohammad said he had come to know that Ansari was going to release the book on October 13 at the India International Center (IIC) in Delhi, but the book made “false claims” regarding the Army’s deployment.

Mohammad also contests Shah’s account of his meeting with then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and defence minister George Fernandes in the night intervening February 28 and March 1.

“I have pointed out this, as on March 5, 2016, that I had led then AMU vice-chancellor Lt Gen Zameeruddin Shah to meet with PM Narendra Modi at his official residence, 7 RCR New Delhi, wherein he had complimented PM Modi on his cooperation during Gujarat riots,” Dr Mohammad said in the letter. “My stand is that Lt Gen Zameeruddin Shah is lying either in his book or [lied to] Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the meeting,” Mohammad said.

“As former AMU media advisor and your well-wisher, I appeal to you, sir, to cancel the forthcoming release of the book The Sarkari Musalman by your hands,” he requested Ansari.