Internet services suspended in Aligarh

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Aligarh (UP), May 4 Internet services have been suspended in Aligarh as the 48-hour deadline to take down Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s portrait approaches. Meanwhile right-wing outfits have geared up to bring in nearly 1,000 students to remove the picture of “the man who divided India”, even as police and RAF personnel are deployed at the university. On the other hand, chief minister Yogi Adityanath has out-rightly said that “we cannot give respect to Jinnah”.

“Who is he (Jinnah)? He was the proponent of the two nation theory. He was the one who divided India. It has to be made clear that those who want the portrait of Jinnah, will have to go to Pakistan. We won’t allow him to be revered in India,” Amit Goswami, a right-wing student leader told TIO.

Hours after Goswami live streamed his plan to bring down Jinnah’s portrait, he was summoned by Aligarh SSP on Thursday. However, right-wing outfit Hinduvadi Chhatra Sangh is now planning to mobilise nearly 1,000 students to further press for their demand.

“People have tried to reason with us that the Jinnah’s portrait has been up since 1938 after he became the lifetime member of the AMU Students Union. But he propounded two nation theory. We had no clue that his portrait is still on the walls of AMU. Nobody was aware that AMU was secretly guarding this portrait. It was only after MP Satish Gautam’s letter to the VC Tariq Mansoor that this matter came to light,” Goswami said.

“There will be no internet services from 2 pm today to 12 midnight tomorrow (Saturday),” district magistrate Chandra Bhushan Singh said.

This has been done to prevent rumour mongering, he said.

It had come to the administration’s notice that some anti-social elements could vitiate communal harmony by spreading rumours through videos, using internet services, his order said.

Tension prevailed in Aligarh and students continued with their sit-in at the university’s Baab-e-Syed gate, where they had clashed with the police on Wednesday.

They are boycotting classes for the next two days.

The students offered Friday prayers at the scene of the dharna in which a large number of teachers and other members of the AMU fraternity participated.

Wednesday’s clash took place when the students were demanding action against right-wing protesters who entered the campus and wated the Pakistan founder’s portrait removed from the student union office, where it has been hanging for decades.

The row started after local BJP MP Satish Gautam wrote to AMU raising objections to the portrait.

The University said portraits of all life members of the student union hang there. Jinnah, a founder member of the University Court, had also been given this honour before Partition.

AMU vice chancellor Tariq Mansoor today visited the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College Hospital where three of the students injured in the police lathi-charge are being treated.

The VC later visited the protesting students and assured them of his “solidarity”.

AMU Teachers’ Association (AMUTA) has sent a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind asking him to “urgently institute” a high-level judicial probe into the incident.

They said members of certain outfits entered the campus and disrupted the peaceful academic environment there.

The teachers also plan a peace march up to the district collectorate.

AMUTA secretary Najmul Islam told PTI that they have urged the President to treat the matter seriously as it involved a breach in the security of former Vice President Hamid Ansari.

Ansari was supposed to be felicitated at the University the day the violence broke out.

Islam said protesters who had entered the campus were reportedly carrying firearms.

He said the police, instead of preventing the hooligans from entering the campus, “remained mute spectators”.

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