The leaders of the Aligarh unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has written to the Ministry of Education demanding inquiry and action against the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) after the varsity organised a webinar to discuss the Khilafat movement.

The Aligarh Muslim University had conducted the webinar on August 13 and a Turkish professor also took part in the discussion on the movement. It was presided over by AMU’s Vice-Chancellor (VC) and the keynote speaker was a Turkish professor named H Hilal Sahin.

BJP criticised AMU for conducting the webinar on Khilafat movement calling it a threat to the country’s “internal security”

Terming the matter a threat to the country’s “internal security”, the BJP’s former media spokesperson Nishit Sharma said that 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 the 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.”

Khilafat movement which fuelled the 1921 Hindu genocide

Khilafat movement was an uprising of Indian Muslims in 1920 in support of the Islamic caliphate, in the wake of World War 1. It was aimed at Islamic dominion over India, by destroying the British empire, with support of the Ottoman Empire (which was eventually exterminated in late 1922). The Indian National Congress, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, had thrown its weight behind the movement and promised the support of Hindus as well to the Ali brothers, Jauhar and Abul Kalam Azad, the four who had led the movement in 1920.

Due to Gandhi’s patronage, the Khilafat movement gained force in Malabar as well, which ultimately fuelled the 1921 Hindu genocide in Malabar also known as the Moppalah riots 1921, one of the worst pogroms against Hindus recorded in the annals of Indian history.

AMU proctor defends decision

Meanwhile, defending the varsity, 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.

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