An Islamic organisation questioned today the rationale behind the demand of some right-wing activists for removing a portrait of Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah from the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). “What is the rationale behind such a demand after it has been there in public view for the past 80 years? Even if someone has such a demand, they can move courts for the same… Why such a row over it?” asked Jamaat-e-Islami Hind president Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari.
Describing it as a small issue that has been blown out of proportion, Umari said it has long been the practise in AMU to display portraits of its lifetime members of the students’ union in the campus. Jinnah’s picture was in the campus since 1938. In all these years, no one had raised any objections or put forward any demand for its removal, he told reporters here.
Umari claimed that even some senior BJP leaders had not disputed Jinnah’s role in the freedom struggle. The JIH leader added it was a matter that needs to be resolved through talks with the students’ union. AMU students have been agitating for the past few days, demanding action against the right-wing protesters, who entered the campus and demanded removal of Jinnah’s portrait from the student union’s office.
The row started after local BJP MP Satish Gautam wrote to AMU, raising objections to the portrait. Umari also flayed the policies of the BJP-led government at the Centre and alleged that democracy, secularism and the fundamental rights of the citizens were in danger. He said the JIH would extend support to those forces that fight the saffron party.