ALIGATH — Bharatiya Janata Party leader Satish Gautam, two days after being re-elected as Aligarh MP, said that his first priority will be to send the portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) to Pakistan.
“The right place for Jinnah’s portrait is not at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), but in Pakistan. There is no change in our stand and it will be sent by whatever means possible,” said the newly elected MP.
It may be recalled that it was Satish Gautam who had kicked up the Jinnah controversy storm last year when he sought the removal of the portrait from the AMU.
The BJP MP has written a letter to AMU Vice Chancellor Tariq Mansoor, seeking the status of the Jinnah portrait at AMU.
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.
The issue had surfaced when the portrait came in the open during an exhibition organised at AMU in October, 2018 to mark Gandhi Jayanti.
Gautam had raised objections at that time too and the university administration had to removed the portrait from the exhibition and had served a show-cause notice to the librarian for the “lapse”.
Thanking his party organisation and voters for giving him a second term from Aligarh, Gautam said: “We are also committed to reservation for SC/ST and OBC students at the AMU, an issue we had been raising time and again. The AMU has to give reservation to these students.”
Meanwhile, a section of students had demanded construction of a temple on the AMU campus for Hindu students. Replying to a question in this regard, Gautam extended full support to Ajay Singh, the student leader who was suspended by the AMU administration after an incident of violence on the campus in February.
Gautam also assured to help out the suspended student leader.
(With agency inputs)