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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Suspension of RTI Activist Dr Tariq Islam: An Update

There is deep resentment in the teachers of Aligarh Muslim University over the issue of suspension of Dr Tariq Islam on cooked up charges of unspecified 'gross misconduct' by AMU administration. The teachers have already observed a token strike on the issue and the teaching in AMU campus came to a standstill. The issue has been getting wide coverage in the media and the action of AMU administration has been condemned by one and all. It is becoming increasingly evident that AMU administration appears to be in a mood to settle scores with Dr Islam as he has been spearheading an RTI movement in AMU. It is being said that the administration is miffed over the issue of appearance of documents obtained by Dr Ialam, General Secretary, RTI Group, and his fellow activists in the representation sent to Hon'ble Shrimati Pratibha Patil, Visitor, Aligarh Muslim University.

Dr Islam was summarily suspended on August 26, 2009 without following principles of natural justice. Even till date i.e. October 14, 2009 he has not been issued even a show cause notice!

There are whispers that the damning evidence obtained by the RTI Group ( the exercise of RTI from AMU itself, formed the basis of notice issued to AMU and subsequent setting up of Fact Finding Inquiry Committee (FFIC)on the affairs at AMU.

It is to be remembered that the short tenure of Prof P K Abdul Azis, Vice Chancellor, AMU, has been marred with allegations of administrative and financial irregularities. The AMU Teachers' Association (AMUTA)too has appealed to the Hon'ble Shrimati Pratibha Patil, President of India, in her capacity as Visitor of AMU to ask Prof Azis and other top functionaries to proceed on leave during the period of the FFIC. The contention of AMUTA is that there can be no free and fair inquiry till the time these top officers are allowed to continue in their positions.
But it appears that, as usual, the mandarins at the Ministry of Human Resource Management are sleeping over the countless resolutions and representations against the current AMU administration. There are even rumours that the Shri Kapil Sibal, Minister of HRD, is being kept in the dark about the fast deteriorating situation at AMU by vested interests in the MHRD.

The issue has further been complicated by the filing FIR by the Mr Mohd Muqim, Chairman, Department of Philosophy, AMU, against Dr Tariq Islam, as part of a concerted move to pin Dr Islam down. Though the Prof Azis, Vice Chancellor, AMU, has till date not spelt out the 'gross misconduct' yet, Mr Muqim, in his over-enthusiasm filed an FIR claiming that Dr Islam had 'forged' his marksheet of BA (Hons) from Polytechnic of North London (now, London Metropolitan University). Things took an ugly turn when the Aligarh Civil Lines police, without verifying facts, perhaps on account of 'extraneous' pressure turned up at the residence of Dr Islam in the night of 23rd September 2009 to arrest him. It was only due to praiseworthy intervention of Shri K Ram Mohan Rao, District Magistrate, Shri Aseem Arun, SSP, Aligarh, and Kunwar Ranvijay Singh, the sharp and energetic Circle Officer of Civil Lines, Aligarh, that the situation did not take a turn for the worst. Had these officer not acted promptly, the way they did, the situation in AMU must have indeed taken a very ugly turn.

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