A former student of the Maharaja Sayajirao University in the city of Vadodara in Gujarat was arrested on Friday after he set an office cabin at the varsity on fire, The Indian Express reported.

Srilamanthula Chandramohan, a former Masters programme student at the university’s Faculty of Fine Arts, was at the centre of controversy in 2007 when religious groups objected to his paintings of Jesus Christ and goddess Durga. He told the police that the university had not given him his certificate, which he said has affected his career. The police have booked the artist for arson.

“He has claimed that he made over 25 petitions to the University office in the last 11 years to hand over his certificate, but it was not given to him,” the daily quoted an unidentified police officer as saying. “Today [Friday], as he approached the head office, he had decided to take an extreme step. We are trying to ascertain if he had planned any harm to self.”

At around 5 pm, Chandramohan visited armed with a bottle of petrol, the Ahmedabad Mirror reported. He poured the petrol at the pro-vice chancellor’s office, which is adjacent to the vice-chancellor and the registrar’s offices, and set it on fire. There were 50 people when the incident occurred and the fire department officials rescued them.

Though the university’s Registrar Neerja Jaiswal said the damage was yet to be ascertained, The Indian Express quoted unidentified officials as saying that several computers, files and even cash had been completely burnt. Jaiswal said her office would look into Chandramohan’s complaint about not receiving his degree certificate.