Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath said on Thursday that there was “no question” of “celebrating” Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah in India. His comments, in an interview to India Today, came after clashes at the Aligarh Muslim University over a portrait of Jinnah at the varsity.
“Jinnah divided this country. How can we celebrate his achievements?” Adityanath asked. “I have asked for an inquiry into the clashes. We will act as soon as the report is submitted.” He added that the report was expected by Friday.
Members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and the Hindu Yuva Vahini had walked into the Aligarh Muslim University on Wednesday, demanding that Jinnah’s portrait be removed. When students at the university protested, members of the Hindutva groups allegedly beat them up.
Students organise dharna
On Thursday, hundreds of student protestors organised a dharna at the campus gate, the Hindustan Times reported. The daily said that Jinnah’s portrait was briefly taken down from the students union hall in the morning, purportedly to be cleaned, before being put back up.
“The portrait will remain there. Whatever it is, you can’t erase history and Jinnah is part of the history of undivided India,” AMU Students Union President Mashkoor Ahmad Usmani said.
The students union also claimed that Wednesday’s campus violence was a “deliberate and pre-planned attempt” to attack former Vice President Hamid Ansari, who was at that time not far from the university guest house, PTI reported. “Our protest will continue indefinitely till the police takes action against those who were actually targeting the former vice president,” Usmani said.
Aligarh District Magistrate Chandra Bhushan Singh said the situation at the varsity was “under control”. He added that while there were no “untoward incidents”, and that Rapid Action Force and state police personnel had been deployed on the campus.
Singh said he had met Aligarh Muslim University Vice Chancellor Tariq Mansoor and some alumni and sought their cooperation to ensure peace on campus.
Teachers’ association also protests
An unidentified spokesperson of the university strongly condemned Wednesday’s violence, and said the varsity hoped the state government would take action against the Hindu Yuva Vahini.
The AMU Teachers’ Association held an emergency meeting on Wednesday night, and passed a resolution stating that Wednesday’s action by the Hindu Yuva Vahini was a “deliberate criminal conspiracy” in which the police, instead of punishing the aggressors, indulged in “brutal action” against the students.