Abantika GhoshAbantika Ghosh, TNN
Jul 24, 2011, 03.26PM IST
Darul Uloom DeobandGhulam Vastanvi removed as Deoband VC
See photoDEOBAND: His remarks about Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi finally cost Darul Uloom vice-chancellor Ghulam Mohammed Vastanvi his job with the Islamic seminary's governing council Majlis-e-Shura sacking the cleric on Sunday.
The decision followed after Vastanvi refused to step down as he had initially promised in the February meeting of the council. Caretaker vice-chancellor Mufti Abul Qasim Nomani has now been made the new incumbent in the prestigious post ending seven months of drama over Vastanvi's comments that Muslims in Gujarat, like the state's other residents, had progressed under Modi's rule.
Vastanvi's remarks, first published in TOI, set off an uproar with his opponents closing ranks and his backers finding it difficult to support him despite the Gujarati cleric's clarifications.
Vastanvi went back on his promise on the ground that the inquiry report submitted by the three-member committee set up in February to examine allegations against him and also to probe those who fomented anti-Vastanvi protests was incomplete.
"The report failed to provide any insight into what or who was the trigger for the student unrest in Darul Uloom, so it is incomplete and I refused to quit on the basis of an incomplete report although I had said in February that I would quit irrespective of the contents of the report," Vastanvi said.
The sacked rector said the Shura passed a proposal to sack him by a vote of 8-4. "I am leaving Deoband for now but I continue to be a member of the Shura," Vastanvi said before leaving the sleepy Uttar Pradesh town which had a heavy police presence for the Shura meeting.
As Vastanvi's SUV left the guesthouse where the meeting was held, students from rooftops and on the streets cheered his removal. Some sections of the student community had been demanding his ouster vociferously.
Vastanvi had said in January that Muslims should move on from the Gujarat riots and the Modi government in Gujarat was doing a good job.
The inquiry report - which included clippings from TOI - gave Vastanvi a clean chit, admitted Shura member Abdul Alim Farooqui. "But he had promised he would quit so it was imperative that he did. That is why Shura decided to discontinue his services as the Mohtamim," Farooqui said. The cleric strongly opposed Vastanvi at the Shura meeting.
Vastanvi did suggest that politics and family interests might have played a role in his exit. Senior teacher Arshad Madani, who is Jamiat general secretary Mahmood Madani's uncle - the two are warring over control of the Jamiat and Deoband - has been active in the leadership tussle. So has Dhubri MP Badruddin Ajmal, a Shura member who has been one of Vastanvi's strongest supporters.
"I could have continued as Mohtamim but that would be detrimental to the interests of Darul Uloom as people with political leanings do not want me to work here. Darul Uloom is not the heirloom of some family. I have its best interests at heart so I do not want to be a roadblock in its progress," Vastanvi said.
Both the Madanis have been camping in Deoband. Ajmal though was one of the four who supported Vastanvi, the others including two members of the inquiry committee, Mufti Ismail and Mufti Ibrahim. Insiders said it was Mahmood Madani who finally swung things against Vastanvi. The proposal to sack Vastanvi was moved by acting VC Nomani.
Arshad has been one of the most strident critics of Vastanvi and it is said to be his opposition that was the primary reason for Vastanvi's woes. His position left Mahmood Madani with few options, locked as they are in a fight for control of the Jamiat.
Reiterating the impression that Vastanvi's fate had actually been sealed in the February Shura meeting itself when he had pleaded for an honourable exit and the inquiry committee was formed, Ismail said, "Our 15-page report was not considered at all. Why was the committee set up if Vastanvi's exit had been pre-planned?"
(Courtesy: The Times of India)