ALIGARH — Close on the heels of local BJP MP’s demand to remove portrait of Mohammad Ali Jinnah from the Aligarh Muslim University, an MLA of the saffron party and minister of Haryana government has expressed his wish that the 19th century University should be renamed after Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh, who was one of those who donated land for the university.
Haryana Finance Minister Captain Abhimanyu on Sunday said the university should be renamed after Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh, who “donated land for the University for education of Hindus as well as Muslims”.
“What can be sadder than the fact that no image of Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh has been displayed in the university. He donated land for the university without any hesitation and with an objective of education to all, irrespective of religion, but there is a portrait of Jinnah who divided this country,” The Indian Express quoted Abhimanyu as telling a gathering at the foundation-laying ceremony of Jat Dharamshala in Rewari.
His demand could be seen as an attempt to rub salt into the wound of the AMU community who are protesting over the recent attack by some saffron activists.
Assembly election will be held early next year in Haryana.
On 30th April, Aligarh BJP MP Satish Gautam had written to AMU Vice Chancellor seeking explanation about the portrait of Jinnah at the AMU Students’ Union office. On 2nd May (even before the letter reached the AMU) around two dozen people from Hindutva outfit Hindu Yuva Vahini tried to forcibly barge into the university through its main gate. They raised communal and provocative slogans and allegedly clashed with security staff and students.
Protesting against the intrusion of the saffron activists, hundreds of students had tried to march towards the local police station, but the police resorted to lathi-charge that left more than a dozen students injured. The students have since been protesting over the issue.
In its clarification about the portrait, the AMU said that it has been there since 1938 along with that of several stalwarts including Mahatma Gandhi and Dr BR Ambedkar as they were all lifetime Members of the AMU Students’ Union.