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.
BJP MP from Aligarh Satish Kumar Gautam writes to vice-chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, says, '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.'
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) May 1, 2018
He also posted #JinnahFreeAMU hashtag on the social media.
— Satish Gautam (@satishgautam72) May 1, 2018
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."
Before partition Jinnah fought for India's independence. It's different matter that country was divided in which he played crucial role. But to remove his portrait from AMU is political gimmick by BJP: Karan Dalal,Cong on BJP MP writing to AMU VC seeking removal of Jinnah's photo pic.twitter.com/rKuaoI0GSy
— ANI (@ANI) May 1, 2018
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.
(With PTI inputs)