New Delhi, May 14: Amid ongoing row over the portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah at Aligarh Muslim University, Haryana Finance Minister Captain Abhimanyu has said that AMU should be renamed as Raja Mahendra Pratap Vishwavidyalaya. Addressing a gathering in Rewari on Sunday, he said, “Picture of the one who broke the nation into pieces hangs inside Aligarh Muslim University’s campus, but no picture of Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh. I demand that AMU must be renamed as Raja Mahendra Pratap Vishwavidyalaya.”
The minister claimed Mahendra Pratap Singh had donated the land for the varsity. Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh’s contribution in the field of education cannot be forgotten, he added.
Who is Mahendra Pratap Singh
Mahendra Pratap Singh was a freedom fighter and social reformist. He had received education in Aligarh’s Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College (MAO) founded by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, which later became AMU. He was also one of the donors to his alma mater. According to the varsity’s website, the Jat king had defeated former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1957 Lok Sabha polls from Mathura. He did lease 3.04 acres of land to AMU in 1929 at a rate of Rs. 2/- per annum.
The controversy began after local BJP MP Satish Gautam wrote to the Aligarh Muslim University authorities, asking why a photo of Muhammad Ali Jinnah was still on display at the varsity.
Questioning its presence on the campus, he said there was no justification for displaying a photo of the man who was responsible for the creation of Pakistan. “If they really want to put pictures, they should display photos of great men like Mahendra Pratap Singh who donated land for this institution,” Gautam said.
On May 3, 28 students and 13 cops were injured in a clash which broke out between AMU students and the police. As per the media reports, as many as 3,000 protesters gathered at the main gate, Baab-e-Sayyad, of AMU, seeking a judicial inquiry against Hindu groups who barged into the campus and clashed with the students on Wednesday. AMU Teachers’ Association (AMUTA) has sent a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind demanding a high-level judicial probe. On the next day, several were left injured in the clash with police.
Furthermore, the protest has also been joined by the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Allahabad University and Jamia Millia Islamia.