Monday, 10 December, 2018

Jinnah portrait at AMU sparks row, Cong says 'diversionary tactic'

Aligarh Muslim University Aligarh Muslim University
Melinda Barton | 02 May, 2018, 13:16

In a letter addressed to the AMU Vice Chanceloor, BJP MP from Aligarh Satish Gautam had asked him to explain what the compulsion was of putting portrait of the "person who everyone knows was responsible for partition of India".

But Swami Prasad Maurya, panchayati raj minister in the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh, said: "It is wrong to question the AMU on Jinnah's picture".

Amid the raging controversy over the portrait of Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah found hanging inside the Aligarh Muslim University here, reports suggested on Wednesday that the portrait has gone missing.

Traditionally, photographs of all life members are placed on the walls of the student union, he said.

Asked about Gautam's letter on Jinnah's portrait, Congress spokesperson Sushmita Dev said it was a diversionary tactic as development, women's security and health services for children were not on the BJP's agenda. He said that Gautam should have written to the AMUSU as the photo was on display at the AMUSU hall.

According to university officials, the portrait was installed in 1938 before Partition, at the peak of Muslim League campaign for a separate nation for the Muslims of India.

On Tuesday, AMU spokesman Shafey Kidwai had defended the display of the Jinnah portrait, saying the Pakistan founder was a founding member of the University Court.

"It is a tradition since 1920 to honour people of eminence with life membership".

The AMU campus also has portraits of Jawahar Lal Nehru, C Rajagoapalachari among others, he said.

Talking to media, Maurya said, "Jin maha-purushon ke yogdaan is rashtra ke nirmaan mein raha hai, yadi unn par koi ungli uthaata hai to ye ghatia baat hai".

The VC has not commented on the issue.

"It is fine if Jinnah has been revered in Pakistan after Partition".

Earlier, an RSS activist had sought permission to hold a "Shakha" on the university campus.