Aligarh University students protest over ‘missing’ Jinnah portrait

UTTAR PRADESH: Tensions surrounding the missing portrait of Quaid-e-Azam have escalated with students of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) protesting outside a police station over the missing portrait.

Yesterday, the portrait had gone missing just two days after the university received threats by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker Satish Gautam.

The students of AMU took to the streets demanding why the portrait had gone missing.

Earlier it was reported that opposition groups had broken into the university, ensuing clashes, and injuring students, according to a report in Financial Express.

Standing outside a police station, the students chanted slogans against the university management and Gautam who had written to the university asking for the removal of Jinnah’s portrait.

The police had resorted to using tear gas on the students.

Pakistani analyst Rasul Bakhsh Rais weighed in on the matter saying the recent incident at AMU should open eyes of those who claim that Muslims have rights in India.

Indian journalist Kuldip Nayar also added the removal of Jinnah’s picture was not correct.

In a letter addressed to the AMU vice-chancellor Tariq Mansoor earlier this week, BJP MP  Gautam had said, “It is fine if Jinnah has been revered in Pakistan after Partition. But his portrait should not be put up here in India.”

He had added instead of putting Jinnah’s portrait, the university should celebrate the contributions of Raja Mahendra Pratap and Sir Syed Ahmed Khan who played a crucial role in establishing the university.

Meanwhile, university spokesman Shafey Kidwai has defended the move to display the portrait of Jinnah, saying he was a founder member of the University Court and was granted life membership of the student union.

The AMU has been maintaining that Jinnah’s portrait was installed in 1938 when he was honoured with a lifetime membership of the student union, much before the partition in 1947.

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