Jinnah portrait row: Aligarh Muslim University VC urges protesting students to focus on exams
Tariq Mansoor said a section of the media had portrayed ‘half truths’ to project a negative image of the university.
Tension was rife at the Aligarh Muslim University on Tuesday after students were allegedly prevented from marching to the district collectorate in protest against the recent violence at the campus, PTI reported. Faculty members and university employees purportedly stopped the students, who had formed a human chain.
Earlier in the day, the varsity’s vice-chancellor, Tariq Mansoor, urged the students to focus on their studies instead of protesting. The students are demanding police action against Hindutva activists who had barged into the campus on May 2, PTI reported.
Members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and the Hindu Yuva Vahini had entered the university premises demanding that the portrait of Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah be removed from the students’ union hall. They allegedly beat up students who stood up to them. The following day, hundreds of them organised a dharna at the campus gate. The university on Sunday rescheduled the examinations scheduled to begin on Monday to May 12 because of the prevailing tension.
In an open letter, Mansoor urged the students to “not fall into the trap of certain forces which are bent upon destroying the image of our alma mater and are playing with your bright future”. The university has set up a 16-member coordination committee comprising senior faculty members to negotiate with the protesting students.
The students are demanding a judicial inquiry into alleged police inaction in the incident. Mansoor said that he fully endorsed the students’ demand for a judicial inquiry and also denounced the “excessive use of force” on students by the police.
Mansoor said a section of the media, including television channels, was using “half truths” to project a negative image of the university. The university’s student union leaders, however, said that their protests would continue till their demands were fulfilled.