Jinnah-portrait in AMU: What Muslim groups are saying on controversy
Wading into the controversy over 138-year-old Mohammed Ali Jinnah's portrait in Aligarh Muslim University, All-India Muslim Mahasangh on Friday announced a reward of Rs. 1 lakh for taking the picture down. Separately, Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind advised students union of AMU to remove the portrait from University's union hall to restore peace. Tensions flared in the Uttar Pradesh town after Hindutva groups demanded the removal of Jinnah's portrait.
Farhat Ali Khan, national head of All-India Muslim Mahasangh, said no Indian leaders' portrait hang in Pakistan. "I appeal everyone to tear and burn down posters of Jinnah and people like him. I announce a reward of Rs. 1 Lakh cash for the one who burns down the poster," he said, adding Indian Muslims hated both Jinnah and Pakistan.
Maulana Mahmood Madani, general secretary of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, expressed concern over the high tension and asked AMU students to do away with the portrait. "Our ancestors did not accept divisive policy of Mr. Jinnah and never regarded him as an ideal person, we opted to live in this country is a firm indication that we have rejected two-nation theory propounded by him," he said.
"Students should not let certain elements succeed in their nefarious design who have been trying to divert people's attention from the real issues facing the country. Please do not remain adamant for installing Jinnah's portrait in the Union Hall," he said.
The controversy began when BJP leader Satish Gautam questioned the portrait's presence in a letter to AMU's vice-chancellor. Soon, Hindu groups chorused the demand, and violent clashes between them and students ensued. Thousands of AMU students staged a protest at university's main gate demanding judicial actions against Hindu groups. On Friday, Internet services were suspended, and Section 144 was imposed in Aligarh.