The Aligarh Muslim University Students Union (AMUSU) has written to President Kovind seeking his intervention on the matter of the Jinnah portrait at the University to put to rest the controversy surrounding it. The student body has also alleged in their letter that the state government has failed to take any satisfactory action thus far. According to them, the Aligarh District Administration has not acted yet on those who allegedly trespassed the university campus and engaged in violence on May the 2nd.
AMUSU President Mashkoor Ahmed Usmani, among other leaders of the students union, has sought an appointment with President Kovind over the matter. “We have high regard for the president and we hope his prompt intervention will ensure justice and fair play on this critical issue which we are presently facing,” Usmani said. He added that a similar letter was sent to Union HRD Minister Prakash Javdekar and that they were currently awaiting the responses to their letters.
AMUSU President Usmani also said that they were not defending Jinnah or his portrait. He said, “We’d again like to make it very clear that the students of Aligarh Muslim University are in no way defending Mohammad Ali Jinnah or his portrait.” Usmani also claimed that the Jinnah portrait controversy was a “hoax” manufactured by certain sections of the media along with the ruling party at the center.
Controversial former Vice President Hamid Ansari, who is known at attend programs organized by violent Islamist outfits, has also come out in support of the students of AMU over the Jinnah controversy. While supporting the call for a judicial probe by the AMUSU, Ansari also lauded the violent protests by the AMU students and said it was ‘commendable’.
Intriguingly, the student organization which is now seeking President Kovind’s aid had opposed tooth and nail his invitation to the annual convocation as chief guest by the university administration. AMUSU Secretary Mohd Fahad had said, which appeared to be a thinly veiled threat, “If any Sanghi or anyone associated with Gandhi’s assassination and demolition of the Babri Majid attend the convocation, they will not be treated well as we know how to deal with such elements.”
The University was mired in a controversy after BJP MP Satish Gautam wrote to the Vice Chancellor of the AMU demanding that the portrait of Jinnah be removed questioning the need for it on the University walls. Following the letter, clashes had ensued between students and activists who were demanding that the portrait be removed where numerous policemen got injured.