The Centre on Monday clarified that it has not suggested to remove the words “Muslim” and “Hindu” from the names of Aligarh Muslim University and Banaras Hindu University. “The government has not made any decision to change the names of AMU and BHU,” Union Human Resources and Development Minister Prakash Javadekar told ANI.

Javadekar’s clarification came after The Indian Express reported that an audit report of 10 central universities had suggested that the names of AMU and BHU be altered to ensure that the secular nature of the universities is clear.

Earlier, unidentified officials close to the panel’s functioning told that the suggestion was part of a revised version of the audit committee’s report. Former bureaucrat Sudhanshu Mohanty was the panel coordinator. The panel was among the five University Grants Commission-appointed committees set up in April after the Human Resources Development Ministry ordered an inquiry into allegations of irregularities at 10 universities.

The English daily’s report quoted an unidentified official who said that AMU, being a Central government-funded university, should have a name to reflect its secular nature. It suggested that the varsity be renamed after its founder, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan. The panel also proposed a change in the Banaras Hindu University’s name, even though the varsity was not under its scanner.

The committee’s report also referred to the AMU as “feudal” and suggested that the selection process for the vice chancellor’s post, which gives the university a greater say in the appointment, be revised.