Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) students are not anti-national and they do not harbour any pro-Pakistan feelings, university’s former vice chancellor Lt Gen (retired) Zameer Uddin Shah said on Sunday.
His remarks come days after protests and violence rocked the AMU campus over the portrait of Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the student’s union office. An indefinite sit-in and boycott of academic activities by students over the issue entered the fourth day today.
Shah said the matter could have been amicably settled had Aligarh MP Satish Gautam, who is also a member of the AMU Court, raised the issue with the university authorities.
But, Gautam wrote to AMU authorities about the portrait and sent the letter by ordinary post which took five days to reach them. In the meantime, Shah said, the MP released the letter to the press and right-wingers, who resorted to arm-twisting.
"Arm-twisting methods have only hardened the positions of both sides," said the former VC, advocating dialogue to resolve the conflict over display of the portrait.
Shah also said the University, which has since its inception nurtured the "Ganga-Jamni Tahzeeb" (culture of social harmony), "not be given a bad name for no fault of its own". "The students of AMU are not anti-national, they do not harbour any pro-Pakistan feelings as projected by the media. Some incidents of yelling and slogan-shouting were slogans for freedom from oppression," he said.
When asked what prompted him to put the video out yesterday, Shah told press that after watching the videos of AMU students being chased by the police and being "mercilessly beaten up", he felt it was time to speak out against this injustice.