AMU Row Over Jinnah's Portrait
Author: Thamanna Abdul Latheef 03 May 2018
Aligarh Muslim University has been witnessing a row over a decades-old photograph of Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the recent times. Over 28 AMU students and 13 cops were injured in a clash which broke out when the students were marching to the police station after the Hindu groups cast a protest outside the university on Wednesday. At the heart of the issue was a portrait of Jinnah which has been hanged in the university's student union wall for years.
The right-wing activists were demanding the removal of Jinnah's photo, to which the students objected and the students alleged that the protesters were from Hindu Yuva Vahini and were allowed to leave the police station even after being initially detained. The official reports say that the students were marching to the police station demanding to know why the miscreants were let off by the police without an FIR against them. The controversy coincided with a visit by former Vice-President Hamid Ansari, who was a professor as well as a vice chancellor of the university.
What’s it all about?
Earlier, a BJP MP demanded the expulsion of Uttar Pradesh Labour Minister Swami Prasad Maurya from the party for praising Jinnah, which the minister denied he ever did. Media reports had said that the minister called Jinnah a `mahapurush' (a great personality) from the time of undivided India. A BJP ally, Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party leader Om Prakash Rajbhar also took a jibe at Maurya, describing him as ‘Jinnah's relative.’
"Government minister Swami Prasad Maurya who had called Muhammad Ali Jinnah - a heinous criminal who trifurcated the country - a great personality should retract his statement, apologize or be immediately removed from the party,” Yadav tweeted in Hindi.
"When there is no picture of Mahatma Gandhi in any of the universities of Pakistan then why should there be Jinnah's portrait here," Rajbhar, who is a minister in Yogi Adityanath's government, said in Ballia. But when asked by reporters to clarify his remarks on Jinnah, Maurya said in Unnao that the media was wrong.
The Rajya Sabha MP from UP said in another tweet, “The photograph of Jinnah who trifurcated India can be put up at AMU but Bharat Mata ki Jai, Vande Mataram cannot be said.” The violence erupted hours after Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi expressed hope that the portrait issue would be resolved with a “sensitive approach”.
Yadav had also tagged his anti-Maurya tweet to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, UP BJP chief Mahendra Nath and party leader Sunil Bansal.
Jinnah’s portrait was hanging among a galaxy of luminaries like Mahatma Gandhi, Maulana Azad, Jawaharlal Nehru, CV Raman, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, VV Giri and APJ Abdul Kalam. The deliberate attempts to polarize the nation on religious grounds have become a trend in the country. However, the imprudent attitude of various national leaders is quite shocking. The land getting divided on a portrait of Jinnah and letting that happen is reprehensible!!
By: Thamanna Abdul Latheef C
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