BJP MP wants Jinnah portrait removed from Aligarh Muslim University, sparks row

Jinnah served as the leader of the All-India Muslim League from 1913 until 14 August 1947 and then as Pakistan’s first Governor-General until his death on 11 September 1948.
Aligarh: A controversy has broken out over a portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah being displayed on the walls of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) student union office. Aligarh MP and BJP leader Satish Gautam on Monday wrote to Vice Chancellor Tariq Mansoor objecting to Pakistan founder’s picture on the walls of the AMUSU office.
On the other hand, Congress leader Karan Dalal said, “Before partition Jinnah fought for India’s independence. It’s a different matter that country was divided in which he played a crucial role. But to remove his portrait from AMU is a political gimmick by BJP.”
Defending the portrait, apparently hanging there for decades, AMU spokesman Shafey Kidwai on Tuesday said that Jinnah was a founder member of the University Court and granted life membership of the student union.
“Traditionally, photographs of all life members are placed on the walls of the student union. Jinnah was also accorded life membership of the AMUSU in 1938. He was the founder member of the University Court in 1920 and also a donor. He was granted membership before the demand of Pakistan had been raised by the Muslim League,” he told PTI.
Kidwai added that no national leader had raised any objection to the photo even after Independence. These included Mahatma Gandhi, Maulana Azad, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, C Rajagopalachari, Rajendra Prasad and Jawaharlal Nehru.
Meanwhile, last week, the AMU VC received a letter from an ‘RSS activist’ Amir Rasheed seeking his permission to organise a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ‘shakha’ on the campus.
Reacting to it, Kidwai said, “The university is not considering any proposal for allowing any camp or shakha organised by any political party. We have a tradition of not allowing political parties to put up their candidates either for contesting the students’ union polls or the teachers’ association elections.” He pointed out that the student union enjoyed a certain autonomy within the legal framework of the University’s constitution as enshrined by an Act of Parliament.

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