The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) on Monday issued showcause notices to the president and secretary of its drama club for putting up posters allegedly carrying a map of India without Kashmir and the North East.
A notice has also been issued to an employee of the university, who allegedly prepared the controversial poster.
‘Jis Lahore Na Vekhiya’, the play for which the posters had been put up, was cancelled hours before it was was to be staged at the university’s Kennedy auditorium Sunday after an uproar over the issue.
BJP’s Brij Chhetra vice-president Manvendra Pratap Singh claimed to have intimated AMU proctor Mohsin Khan and the additional district magistrate about the posters.
Written by noted Hindi writer Asghar Wajahat in the 1980s, the play, ‘Jis Lahore Na Vekhiya’, is set in 1947. AMU’s public relations in-charge M Shafey Kidwai said the plot revolves around the Mirzas, a Muslim family which migrated from Lucknow to Lahore and are allotted a haveli which was evacuated by a Hindu family. When they arrive in Lahore, they find an elderly Hindu woman living in the haveli, claiming its ownership and refusing to leave. The Muslim family gradually settles in the haveli along with the Hindu woman and drops the idea of evicting her.
“After coming to know about the poster, AMU cancelled the play and also removed the posters and hoardings from campus. Action will be taken after receiving replies to the notices issued to the drama club president, secretary and the employee,” said Kidwai, adding that the play was “anti-partition” and “anti-communal”.
The president of the drama club is an assistant professor of the university, said Kidwai. The professor and employee have been asked to submit their explanations to the registrar’s office within two days, while the student has been asked to provide an explanation to the proctor’s office within 72 hours, said a press note issued by AMU on Monday.
“When permission was obtained from AMU authorities, the said poster was not shown. The AMU had given permission to stage the play on Sunday at the auditorium. Hoardings and posters carried an erroneous map of India in which the North-East and J&K parts are mixed up. The drawing of the map was a mistake committed inadvertently by the drama society of AMU,” added Kidwai.
BJP’s Manvendra Pratap Singh said, “I have written to the HRD Ministry stating that such an act amounts to anti-nationalism and action should be taken. In the hoardings (posters), the North-East and parts of J&K are shown in China. I also pointed out in the letter that controversies are regularly propping up in the university and need to be looked into.” He claimed to be a member of the ministry’s National Monitoring Committee for Minorities Education.