Bharatiya Janata Party leader and newly-elected Aligarh MP Satish Gautam on Friday said that one of the first things he wants to do now is to send a decades-old portrait of Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah to Pakistan, ANI reported. Gautam won the Aligarh seat with 6,56,215 votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the results of which were out on Thursday.
“Among my priorities is to send the portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, which is locked inside a room in AMU [in Aligarh Muslim University] to Pakistan,” Gautam told the news agency. When asked about his earlier attempts to raise the matter, Gautam claimed that past attempts should be forgotten. He alleged that Pakistan may need the picture but not India, according to the Dainik Jagran. Gautam added that he will ensure Dalits get reservation in the varsity.
In April 2018, Gautam had taken offence to the portrait, which is hung inside the Aligarh Muslim University’s Students Union Office. He had written to the university’s Vice Chancellor Tariq Mansoor seeking an explanation. “It is fine if Jinnah has been revered in Pakistan after Partition,” the Aligarh MP had written. “But his portrait should not be put up here in India. The university should instead celebrate the contributions of Raja Mahendra Pratap and Sir Syyed Ahmed who played a crucial role in establishing the university.”
The university, however, said the portrait has been up for several decades as Jinnah was a donor, a founder member of the University Court and had been granted life membership of the student union.
The matter kicked up a storm as members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad had barged into the AMU campus to demand the portrait’s removal. They also tried to burn an effigy of Jinnah after which a scuffle ensued between ABVP leaders and AMU students.