Wading into the controversy over the presence of Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s portrait in Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Union Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh said that Muslims who support the idea of having Jinnah’s portrait in AMU are insulting their forefathers. “If you are a Muslim and you wish to have Jinnah’s portrait to be hung by your walls then you are causing a grave insult to your forefathers, who rejected Jinnah’s ideas (during Indo-Pak partition) and because of whom you are an Indian in the present day,” said Singh in a Facebook post.
The union minister also had a word of advice for the non-Muslims who were supportive of the idea that Jinnah’s portrait should continue to remain in AMU premises. “If you are a non-Muslim, and yet you have jumped into their support because you think that the removal of Jinnah’s portrait somehow infringes your freedom then you must introspect whether you would like to have the portrait of a man whose hands are stained with the blood of your own people,” said Singh.
He also reminded the AMU students that their university has the reputation of being one of leading academic institutions in the country and they should be aware of the hopes and expectations that the nation holds for them. “You all should be cautious about the expectations that the nation has from you- being intelligent and wise in your conduct or being backwardly radical in your approach,” advised the former Indian Army chief.
“Freedom undoubtedly, is everyone’s undisputed right. But sometimes we forget the sacrifices of the great men who have shed their blood to provide us this freedom. Will those great souls be proud in seeing us using our freedom the way we do?” questioned Singh in his post.
A controversy has erupted over the presence of Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s portrait in the AMU, with BJP leaders demanding that it be removed. A picture of the man responsible for India’s division cannot be accepted in a public-funded institution, they have said.