Politicians seem to be divided over the controversy surrounding Mohammed Ali Jinnah's portrait in Aligarh Muslim University. Yesterday (May 4), a Samajwadi Party (SP) MP had said that Jinnah contributed to India's freedom struggle as much as Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru did.
Hitting back at those supporting Jinnah, BJP' Sudhanshu Trivedi today (May 5) told ANI, "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 (Muhammad Ali Jinnah) who was responsible for the division of this country."
The administration suspended internet services in communally sensitive Aligarh district from 2 pm on May 4 to prevent "rumour mongering". AMU students continued their sit-in at the university's Baab-e-Syed gate, where they had clashed with the police on Wednesday. They are boycotting classes for the next two days.
Wednesday's clash took place when the students were demanding action against right-wing protesters who had entered the campus and wanted Jinnah's portrait removed from the student union office, where it has been hanging for decades.
The Jinnah row started after BJP's Aligarh MP Satish Gautam wrote to AMU raising objections to the portrait. The University said portraits of all life members of the student union hang there. Jinnah, a founder member of the University Court, had also been given this honour before Partition. AMU vice-chancellor Tariq Mansoor on Friday visited the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College Hospital where three of the students injured in the police lathi-charge are being treated.
AMU Teachers' Association (AMUTA) has sent a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind asking him to "urgently institute" a high-level judicial probe into the incident. They said members of certain outfits entered the campus and disrupted the peaceful academic environment there. AMUTA secretary Najmul Islam told PTI that they have urged the President to treat the matter seriously as it involved a breach in the security of former Vice President Hamid Ansari.
Ansari was supposed to be felicitated at the University the day the violence broke out. Islam said protesters who had entered the campus were reportedly carrying firearms. He said the police, instead of preventing the hooligans from entering the campus, "remained mute spectators".