Amid the uproar over Muhammad Ali Jinnah's portrait in the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), BJP leader and UP Minister Swami Prasad Maurya on Tuesday said the contribution of Pakistan's founder before partition cannot be ignored.
This remark comes at a time when BJP MP from Aligarh Satish Gautam asked AMU Vice Chancellor Tariq Mansoor an explanation for displaying the photo of Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the institution.
"Jin maha-purushon ke yogdaan is rashtra ke nirmaan mein raha hai, yadi unn par koi ungli uthaata hai to ye ghatia baat hai. Desh ke batwaare se pehle Jinnah ka yogdaan bhi iss desh mein tha (It is bad that fingers are being raised on people who have contributed to nation's development. Before the partition, even Jinnah had contributed to nation)," Maurya told the media.
In a letter addressed to the VC, Gautam has asked that what the compulsion was of putting his picture in the campus.
"It is fine if Jinnah has been revered in Pakistan after Partition. But his portrait should not be put up here in India," said Aligarh MP.
"The university should instead celebrate the contributions of Raja Mahendra Pratap and Sir Syyed Ahmed who played a crucial role in establishing the university," he added.
The portrait was installed in 1938 before Partition, at the peak of Muslim League campaign for a separate nation for the Muslims of India.
Reacting to Gautam's letter, former AMU students' union president Faizul Hassan said that Jinnah's picture was placed in the institute in 1938, much before the partition. "There is no program or chapter on Jinnah that is taught in the university," he added.
Current AMUSU president Mashkoor Ahmad Usmani said, "Jinnah was a hero of undivided India". He said Jinnah's photo was there as he had been given the lifetime membership of the body before Independence. He said that Gautam should have written to the AMUSU as the photo was on display at the AMUSU hall. "We would have given a befitting reply to him," he said.