The local administration imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code in Aligarh on Friday following violence over the display of a portrait of Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah at the Aligarh Muslim University. Additional District Magistrate SB Singh told DNA that internet services had been temporarily suspended to “avoid circulation of communal messages” on social networking sites.
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.
Protests are still underway at the university. Some students burnt effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, India Today reported.
On Thursday, Chief Minister Adityanath had said that there was “no question” of “celebrating” Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah in India.
Hundreds of students organised a dharna at the campus gate on Thursday. 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,” AMU Students Union President Mashkoor Ahmad Usmani said. “Whatever it is, you can’t erase history and Jinnah is part of the history of undivided India.’
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.