After BJP, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind wants Muhammad Ali Jinnah's portrait removed from AMU, Congress calls move 'political gimmick'

Congress has termed the BJP's demand for removing the portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah from the AMU as nothing but a political gimmick.

After BJP, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind wants Muhammad Ali Jinnah's portrait removed from AMU, Congress calls move 'political gimmick'
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ALIGARH: Maulana Mehmood Madani, the head of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, on Wednesday endorsed the demands for removing the portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah from the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Students' Union office, saying that the Indian Muslims had long back rejected him, his ideology and the partition of India and Pakistan.

Reacting to the recent controversy over demands for removing Jinnah's portrait from the AMUSU office, Madani said, ''Muslims living in India rejected Jinnah, his ideology and the partition of India. We are against the presence of such a thing (portrait of Jinnah) and it should be removed.''

Meanwhile, several members of right-wing groups today protested outside Aligarh Muslim University over the controversy surrounding Md. Ali Jinnah's portrait displayed in the AMU forcing the police to resor to a mild lathi-charge to disperse the protesters.

Reactions from Madani came two days after a controversy broke out after Aligarh MP and BJP leader Satish Gautam demanded the removal of Jinnah's portrait which is being displayed on the walls of the AMUSU office. 

Satish Gautam had on Monday written a letter to AMU Vice Chancellor Tariq Mansoor and raised objections over the Pakistan founder's picture hanging on the walls of the AMUSU office.

''I have heard a portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah is hung inside the campus. Kindly gather more details on this and give reasons behind it,'' BJP MP wrote to AMU V-C.  

The BJP MP also posted #JinnahFreeAMU hashtag on the social media.

However, the matter soon snowballed into a political controversy with Congress terming the BJP's demand nothing but a 'political gimmick'.

"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, " Congress leader Karan Dalal said.

Later, defending the portrait, apparently hanging there for decades, AMU spokesman Shafey Kidwai said on Tuesday 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 was quoted as saying by PTI.

Kidwai further said 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 had 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.

(With PTI inputs)