ALIGARH: The students of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), which is in the centre of a controversy over demands for removing the portrait of Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah from its campus, have now written a letter to the Centre and the state government demanding action against the right-wing members for damaging the reputation of the historic university.
According to reports, the members of the AMU Students’ Union have written three separate letters addressing PM Narendra Modi, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the Union HRD Ministry to clear the air over the matter and take action against those who allegedly entered into the varsity’s campus on May 2 and indulged in an “unprovoked attack” on students.
In a related development, the AMU Alumni Forum in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has also submitted a memorandum to the Consulate General of India in the country demanding prompt action against right-wing activists for vitiating the atmosphere of the prestigious university in Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh district.
The memorandum, addressed to the President of India, claimed the “armed hooligans” were planning to attack former vice president Hamid Ansari, who was visiting the AMU campus.
President of the forum, Syed Qutubur Rahman, said similar memorandums were being sent to the President from different AMU alumni associations all over the Middle-East.
Similar memorandums condemning the police lathicharge have been sent from alumni associations in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Australia, USA, South Korea and New Zealand, he said.
Joining the Jinnah debate, Pakistan too said that the controversy over the portrait of its founder in the Aligarh Muslim University showed “growing intolerance and prejudice” in India towards Muslims and Pakistan.
Foreign Office (FO) spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal said at a weekly briefing that traditionally pictures of all life members (of the AMU students’ union) are displayed in the AMU and Jinnah’s picture has been on display since 1938.
“The row over the picture’s display on the demand of a member of the incumbent government indicates the growing intolerance, xenophobia and prejudice especially against Muslims and Pakistan in India and is very dangerous, most of all for India itself,” he said.
The controversy erupted after BJP MP Satish Gautam had written a letter to AMU Vice Chancellor Tariq Mansoor objecting to the portrait, triggering a row that led to two youths being arrested in connection with incidents of violence and exams being postponed to May 12.
The Vice Chancellor has said that the portrait of the Pakistan founder had been hanging in the AMU students’ union office since 1938 and it was a non-issue.