Right wing group demands renaming of AMU after Jinnah portrait row, exams postponed
Amidst the row over Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s portrait in Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), a Hindutva group on Sunday demanded renaming of the varsity after Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh, who had “donated land” for it.
A university spokesperson also announced that all the examinations of the 2017-18 academic session have been postponed and will now commence from May 12, with no further postponements.
The decision was taken at a meeting with university Vice Chancellor Professor Tariq Mansoor, deans of various faculties and principals of all colleges.
A 16-member coordination committee was also formed to look into the prevailing situation and to maintain peace.
Activists of Hindu Jagran Manch tried to take out a march in the university, but were stopped by police at SMB college. Three activists were taken into custody, but released after some time.
Later, addressing the media, Ghanshyam Singh, state president of Hindu Jagran Manch (HJM), demanded naming the university after Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh who had donated land for it.
“A large statue of Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh should be installed on the campus and his birth anniversary should be celebrated,” he said, questioning how one could justify the portrait of Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan and “the man responsible for the division of the nation and deaths of thousands during Partition”.
Violence had erupted in the AMU campus after varsity students objected to the protests by right-wing groups and BJP to remove the portrait of Jinnah, an alumnus of the institution and a lifetime member of the students’ union.
The administration and police at Aligarh were on high alert as the agitation of AMU students entered the fifth day on Sunday.
“I am unable to understand what the AMU students are agitating for,” Singh said, demanding the constitution of an administrative body to supervise activities at AMU which were often “suspicious”.
He alleged that JNU in Delhi and AMU were “used” by anti-national forces.
Singh also warned that if Jinnah’s portrait was not removed, they would launch a state-wide stir.
“The government will do its job and we will do ours. We can’t wait for them to act on this issue. We will continue opposing Jinnah portrait on AMU campus,” he said.