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Aligarh Muslim University webinar on Khilafat movement irks BJP

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Aligarh (UP): The Aligarh unit of the BJP has sought action against the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) which recently organised a webinar to discuss the Khilafat movement.

BJP leaders have written to the Ministry of Education demanding action against the university. The BJP has alleged that the AMU was a threat to the country's "internal security".

According to reports, the webinar was conducted on August 13 and a Turkish professor also took part in the discussion on the movement.

The webinar was presided over by AMU's Vice-Chancellor (VC) and the keynote speaker was a Turkish professor named H. Hilal Sahin.

The Khilafat movement was a protest campaign launched by Muslims to influence the British government and protect the Ottoman Caliphate after the defeat of Turkey in World War I. It also had the support of Mahatma Gandhi.

AMU Proctor Prof Wasim Ali, said, "The Turkish professor was a speaker because she is an expert on Khilafat movement. It was purely an academic programme and there was no politics involved in it. The varsity always organises such events in which international speakers participate."

"There is no advisory from the government over inviting speakers in webinars. We invite well-known academicians for discussions and the Turkish professor's invite was routine," he added.

"We will send the webinar proceedings to the University Grants Commission (UGC) and MoE which is the usual process," he said.

BJP's former media spokesperson Nishit Sharma said strict action should be taken against the AMU V-C and organisers of the event.

"The webinar details should be looked into by an Inquiry Committee as the matter is related to internal security. AMU invited Sahin to express her views on the Khilafat movement despite knowing that Turkey supports Pakistan and opposes India in every decision, including the revocation of Jammu & Kashmir's special status in August last year," Sharma said.

BJP's District Vice-President Gaurav Sharma also claimed that the Khilafat movement was responsible for division of the country and "massacre across the world".

"There is now some network which is working to revive this movement and organising such webinars in the AMU signal that preparation is being made for Khilafat 2.0 movement," he added.

Manvendra Pratap Singh, member of National Monitoring Committee for minority educational institutes and also the BJP's Vice-President for Braj region, said, "It is unfortunate that a Turkish professor was invited for the webinar in AMU despite the fact that Turkey has opposed India multiple times. The initiative is aimed at restarting the Khilafat movement which amounts to treason."

Sahil delivered, 'Turkey, India and Mahatma Gandhi: Reflections on the Khilafat Movement', the final talk in the series of lectures on 'Thought and Philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi' organised by the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

"Known as an icon of peace who remained a moral compass for India's politics and diplomacy, Mahatma Gandhi was significantly influenced by events in Turkey, which led to Khilafat Movement," Sahil said while presenting the topic.

According to Prof Sahin, Gandhi's non-cooperation was actually adopted by the Khilafat Committee at Bombay on May 1920 and soon after persuading the Congress to join it, Gandhi went to an extensive tour to rally the people behind the Turkish cause.

She added that both Hindus and Muslim displayed great enthusiasm in raising the Ankara Fund for or the safety of Turkey.

Prof Sahin emphasised that the significance of the Ottoman issue in Indian politics could be judged by the fact that it united Hindus and Muslims to show dissatisfaction with British rule in India.

"In an edition of Young India, Gandhi appealed Hindus and Muslim to unite against the dismemberment of Turkey, writing: "India is not ready today, but if we would be prepared to frustrate every plot that may be hatched for the destruction of Turkey or for prolonging our subjection, we must secure an atmosphere of enlightened non-violence as fast as possible, not the non-violence of the weak but the non-violence of the strong, who would disdain to kill but would gladly die for the vindication of truth," she said.

Prof Sahin further said: "Mahatma Gandhi's contribution includes not just the struggle against racism in South Africa, the independence movement of India, but his contribution was significant and memorable in Turkish war of independence or revolution. Gandhi was one of the biggest moral supporters of the Turkish cause when the victorious Allied powers were bent on partitioning Turkey."

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TAGS:Khilafat Movement Aligarh AMU BJP Gandhi 
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