Worried about consequences of the Jinnah portrait at AMU, rather than the portrait itself: Union HRD ministry

The Union human resources development ministry has urged the Aligarh Muslim University to follow the “protocol on display of portraits” but has left it to the University to decide.

Published: 08th May 2018 06:50 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th May 2018 07:24 PM   |  A+A-

Police control the situation after a clash between two groups at Aligarh Muslim University. (File photo | PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Union human resources development ministry has urged the Aligarh Muslim University to follow the “protocol on display of portraits” but has left it to the University to decide the fate of Mohammad Ali Jinnah portrait that has emerged at the centre of a major controversy.

Speaking to TNIE on Tuesday, R Subrahmanya, secretary (higher education) said that “there is a well-laid protocol on display of portraits in Universities and AMU has been asked to stick to that.”

“The university has said that Jinnah’s portrait is among about 30 others who were granted honorary life membership of students union and is part of an age-old tradition,” the secretary said.

 “Had there been only Jinnah portrait in one room—it would have been a matter of grave concern for us. Also, the portrait is in the student’s union hall and therefore ministry is not directly dealing with the issue but has asked the University to find a solution as it is an internal, administrative matter,” said Subrahmanya.

“AMU is competent to deal with it and I am sure they will deal with it effectively”.

The secretary added that it was the law and order situation that the ministry was more worried about. “We are concerned about the consequences of portrait being there rather than the portrait itself.”

Several students of AMU were last week beaten up by activists belonging to a Hindutva outfit Hindu Yuva Vahini after Aligarh MP Satish Gautam, in a letter to AMU Vice-chancellor Tariq Mansoor demanded an explanation as to why the portrait was adorning one of the university walls.

The BJP MP had also said that the portrait should be immediately taken down. The University, on the other hand, has clarified that the portrait has been on display since 1938.

Members of AMUSU who have been on a sit-in protest demanding action against the alleged perpetrators of attack on them have refused to remove the portrait and has said that the Centre should come up with a policy that there cannot be any portrait or relic related to those who left India during partition.

The secretary meanwhile said that the Centre is in touch with Uttar Pradesh government over the issue and has asked them to ensure that there is no “law and order problem.”

“Our biggest concern is that there is no disturbance to peace and order in the university or elsewhere due to the row,” Subrahmanya said.

 Fatwa against Jinnah by Ala Hazrat Dargah of Bareilly

Meanwhile, allegedly issuing a fatwa on the controversy over Jinnah’s portrait on AMU campus, famous Dargah Aala Hazrat of Bareilvi Muslim sect has directed the muslim community in India not to
support him.

Holding Jinnah responsible for country’s partition, Dargah spokesperson Maulana Shahbuddin saidthat no Muslim in India should stand in support for him. He said that the portrait should be removed not only from AMU but also from everywhere else in the country it was decorating the walls. “Jinnah is a part of enemy nation Pakistan,” said Maulana Shahabuddin while issuing a fatwa against Jinnah.

Earlier, General Secretary of Jamiat-e-Ulama-Hind Maulana Mohammad Arshad Madani and chairman, Islamic Centre of India, member AIMPLB Khalid Rashid Firangimahli had also echoed similar sentiments
asking agitating students to remove portrait of Jinnah from the AMUSU Hall to end the row.

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