BJP MP questions Jinnah's portrait at Aligarh Muslim University
A BJP MP has asked Aligarh Muslim University to explain why it displays a portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, triggering a row days after a student sought permission to hold an RSS Shakha on its premises. In a letter written to Vice Chancellor Tariq Mansoor, Aligarh MP Satish Gautam objected to the Pakistan founder's picture on the walls of the AMU student union office.
AMU defended the move
AMU spokesman Shafey Kidwai today defended the portrait, apparently hanging there for decades, saying that Jinnah was a founder of the University and granted life membership of the student union. Traditionally, photographs of all life members are placed on the walls of the student union, he said, adding that Jinnah was also accorded life membership of the AMUSU in 1938.
No national leader has objected to the photo
The spokesman said no national leader had raised any objection to the photo even after Independence. These included Mahatma Gandhi, Maulana Azad, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, C Rajagopalachari, Rajendra Prasad, and Jawaharlal Nehru. The AMU student-union has a long tradition of granting life-membership to prominent people in politics, social, and educational fields. Their photographs were a part of the rich heritage of undivided India, he said.
'Not allowing direct intervention of political parties inside the campus'
Last week, the AMU Vice-Chancellor received a letter from an "RSS activist" Amir Rasheed seeking his permission to organize a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh "shakha" on the campus. Kidwai said, "The University is not considering any proposal for allowing any camp or shakha organized by any political party." He said AMU had "no intention" of allowing any "direct intervention" of political parties inside the campus.
AMU not under pressure from government agency
Kidwai said AMU was not under any sort of pressure from any government agency. "No vice chancellor or governing body has ever tried to infringe upon such rights and hence, while we may have different views from the student union on many matters, the AMU authorities have always tried to avoid directly intervening in their matters," he added.