A photo of Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah during an event in Uttar Pradesh’s Faizabad jail has sparked a row, with the BJP and right-wing groups demanding strict action against the organisers. On Wednesday, a function was organised inside the jail premises to mark the martyrdom day of freedom fighter Ashfaqulla Khan. During the event, the photo of Jinnah was put up along with that of several other notable personalities like Bahadur Shah Zafar, Tipu Sultan and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, among others.
The incident created a storm with ruling BJP and right-wing groups like VHP demanding strong action against those who organised the programme.
“The organisers by putting up Jinnah’s photo has made great the occasion of Ashfaqulla Khan’s martyrdom day a disputed programme. By doing this they just want to come into limelight, but this is not accepted, we will take action against them,” local BJP MLA Ved Gupta said.
VHP spokesperson Sharad Sharma said, “The organisers have committed a great crime by displaying the photo of a separatist and a divisive person and for this act, chief minister Yogi Adityanath must take action against the organisers and jail administration.”
The programme was organised by ‘Ashfaqulla Khan Memorial Shaheed Shodh Sansthan’, a social organisation run by senior Communist leader Surya Kant Pandey.
The organisers said Jinnah had a great role in the freedom struggle and he is a part of India’s ‘saajha sanskriti’ and ‘saajhi virasat’ (shared culture and heritage).
“The history of India’s freedom struggle is incomplete without Jinnah, he had great role in the freedom movement and we must give credit to Jinnah for his contribution in the battle of Independence,” Pandey said.
Former Uttar Pradesh governor Aziz Qureshi was the chief guest in the programme.
Poet and professor of literature Anil Singh, who was present in the event, said it was very necessary for everyone to know the history. “Jinnah was the person who fought the case of martyr Bhagat Singh and many other revolutionary freedom fighters and he did not charged any fees. His contribution is same in freedom struggle as of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and other great leaders. So putting up of Jinnah’s photo is the tribute we pay to him.”
When PTI contacted DIG Faizabad Jail, Umesh Shrivastava, for his comments on the controversy, he said, “I am not aware what happened as I was away. So I will inquire about it.”