KOCHI/NEW DELHI: A leading Islamic body on Saturday jumped into the ongoing controversy over the demands for removing a portrait of Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah from the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).
Joining the issue, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind today questioned the rationale behind the demands to remove the portrait of Pakistan founder from the AMU history.
"What is the rationale behind such a demand after it has been there in public view for the past 80 years? Even if someone has such a demand, they can move courts for the same... Why such a row over it?" its chief Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari asked.
Umari said that it was a small issue that has been blown out of proportion.
Siding with the AMU students, Umari said that it has long been the practice in AMU to display portraits of its lifetime members of the students' union in the campus.
''Jinnah's picture has been in the campus since 1938. In all these years, no one had raised any objections or put forward any demand for its removal,'' he said.
The JIH chief claimed that even some senior BJP leaders had not disputed Jinnah's role in the freedom struggle and called for resolving the matter through talks with students.
Umari also flayed the policies of the BJP-led government at the Centre and alleged that democracy, secularism and the fundamental rights of the citizens were in danger.
The JIH president said that he would extend support to those forces that fight the saffron party.
Meanwhile, responding to it, BJP hit back saying those standing with Jinnah also stood for terrorist Afzal Guru.
The BJP spokesperson Sudanshu Trivedi said that those who are standing for Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah also stood for terrorists like Afzal Guru.
Speaking to ANI, Trivedi castigated sympathisers of Jinnah, who was responsible for country's partition.
"People who are standing with Jinnah today, are the same people who stood with terrorist like Afzal Guru. It is unfortunate that certain people are standing by the side of a person who was responsible for the division of this country," Trivedi said.
Interestingly, the Muslim Mahasangh in Rampur had announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh for burning the photo of Muhammad Ali Jinnah which has created a massive uproar at the Aligarh Muslim University.
Blaming Jinnah for having broken the country at the time of partition, Farhat - the national head of All-India Muslim Mahasangh - announced that the reward would be given to anyone who burns Jinnah's photo which created ruckus at AMU earlier this week.
AMU students have been agitating for the past few days, demanding action against the right-wing protesters, who entered the campus and demanded the removal of Jinnah's portrait from the student union's office.
The row started after local BJP MP Satish Gautam wrote to AMU, raising objections to the portrait.
On Thursday, 28 students and 13 cops were injured in a clash which broke out between AMU students and the police, forcing the administration to take several preventive measures.
(With ANI inputs)