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Everything about AMU Jinnah portrait row

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Jinnah1945c

By Photographer not known – [1] [2] A very similar image published in Muhammad Ali Jinnah: A Political Study by Matlubul Hassan Saiyid (Lahore: Shaikh Muhammad Ashraf, 1945), frontispiece. Copyright expired 1995., Public Domain, Link

Tension prevailed on Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) campus in Uttar Pradesh even on Saturday (May 5) over demand to remove portrait of Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah from the wall of the student union office.

Here is everything you need to know about the AMU Jinnah portrait row:

1. In a letter written to AMU Vice-Chancellor Tariq Mansoor on Apr 30, Aligarh Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Satish Gautam demanded an explanation on why Pakistan founder Jinnah’s photo is displayed on the wall of AMU student union office.

2. On May 1, AMU spokesman Shafey Kidwai defended Jinnah’s portrait and said the Pakistan founder accorded life membership of the Aligarh Muslim Students Union (AMUSU) in 1938 and portraits of all life members, including Mahatma Gandhi, Maulana Azad, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, C Rajagopalachari, Rajendra Prasad and Jawaharlal Nehru, are displayed on the walls of the union office.

“He became a life member of AMUSU much before the Muslim League raised the demand for Pakistan,” said the AMU spokesperson.

3. Shafey Kidwai pointed out Jinnah was the founder member of the University Court in 1920 and also a donor.

4. Things went worse the same day (May 1), when activists of activists of several right-wing groups, including Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) affiliate Hindu Jagran Manch (HJM) and UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s Hindu Yuva Vahini, attempted to break into the campus to take down Jinnah’s portrait.

5. AMU students retaliated on May 2 and staged a protest at the university’s main gate Baab-e-Sayyad, demanding judicial inquiry against the right-wing activists.

6. A clash between students and police broke out when the latter tried to intervene and prevent the agitators. As per media reports, at least 24 students were injured in police lathi-charge.

7. On May 3, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath has voiced his objection over Jinnah’s portrait.

“There is no question of celebrating Jinnah in India. It’s better that the Jinnah photo at AMU should be taken off,” he told reporters.

8. All-India Muslim Mahasangh president Farhat Ali Khan added fuel to the row on May 4 by announcing a reward of Rs 1 lakh for the person who will burn down the Jinnah poster.

9. He said since Pakistan has no photos of Indian leaders displayed at their institutions, India should follow the same policy.

10. Meanwhile, students from Jamia Millia Islamia, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Allahabad University joined AMU students in their protest on May 4.

11. AMU Vice-Chancellor Tariq Mansoor tried to ease the prevailing tension by visiting injured students at the hospital.

12. Aligarh district magistrate Chandra Bhushan Singh suspended internet services across the district from 2 pm on Friday (May 4) to midnight to check inflammatory messages on social media related to the Jinnah controversy

Big Wire

Sreya Basu

Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.

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