AMU-Jinnah portrait row: JNU, Jamia, Allahabad University students join stir

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New Delhi:

Almost seven decades after his death, Pakistan's founding father Mohammad Ali Jinnah continues to spark controversies over a portrait of him hanging on Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) wall.

Be it the ugly battle between BJP and Congress members over the portrait or Samajwadi Party comparing Jinnah to India's iconic figures - Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, it seems like the controversies regarding the Pakistani leader have simply refused to die down at AMU.

Meanwhile, scores of agitated students on Saturday continued their protest at the AMU's main gate - Baab-e-Sayyad seeking a judicial inquiry against members of right-wing groups along with BJP MP Satish Gautam.

As many as 3000 students from Jamia Millia Islamia, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Allahabad University joined the protesters and are raising slogans against Satish Gautam for allegedly communalising the campus environment.

They have been also joined by teaching and non-teaching staff at AMU and demanded the suspension of the Station House Officer of Aligarh's Civil Lines Police Station, and a magisterial inquiry into Satish Gautam.

Read | Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s portrait inside Aligarh Muslim University, BJP MP raises objection

Vice Chancellor Tariq Mansoor has been requested to formally take up their demands.

Tensions triggered at the varsity campus after Satish Gautam on Tuesday wrote a letter to Mansoor asking him to explain why a portrait of Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah was hanging inside the campus.

"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," Gautam wrote.

"It's a part of AMU's history. And, whether good or bad, History cannot be erased," a senior AMU official replied.

Giving it a political angle, the opposition Congress accused the BJP of doing "dirty politics of sensationalism, divisiveness, polarisation" and said this needed to be condemned.

The BJP is provoking sentiments and communalising the atmosphere by raking up an "artificial" issue of Jinnah's picture at Aligarh Muslim University, which has led to violence in the Uttar Pradesh town, said Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi.

Read | Pak founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah's daughter Dina Wadia dies in New York

According to sources, the varsity has contacted the Union Human Resource Development Ministry for a judicial inquiry into the matter. Tariq Mansoor visited the students, who were injured after police restored lathi charge on Wednesday.

The administration on Friday suspended internet services in the communally sensitive place to prevent the rumour mongering.

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