Vastanvi sacked as Deoband VC for praise of Narendra Modi (Second Lead)

July 24th, 2011 - 11:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Narendra Modi Deoband (Uttar Pradesh), July 24 (IANS) Ghulam Mohammad Vastanvi was Sunday removed as the vice chancellor of the Darul Uloom Deoband, widely recognized as India’s leading Islamic seminary, for praising Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s developmental policies. Vastanvi accepted the decision but hit out, asserting the institution was not anyone’s private property.

A decision to terminate his services was taken by the Majjis-e-Shoora, the Governing Council of Darul Uloom, at a meeting that concluded at Deoband Sunday noon.

“Darul Uloom Majlis-e-Shoora has resolved to terminate the services of Maulana Ghulam Mohammad Vastanvi with immediate effect,” the new vice chancellor, Maulana Abdul Qasim Nomani, told reporters in Deoband, about 400 km from Lucknow.

Interestingly however, the decision came even after the three-member inquiry committee appointed by Majlis-e-Shoora to go into the charges against Vastanvi, held him “not guilty”.

Talking to IANS over phone from Hapur, where he had gone to attend a function at a madrasa, Vastanvi said: “The Majlis-e-Shoora (governing council) of Darul Uloom might have chosen to remove me from the vice chancellor’s position, but I will continue to remain a part of the institution since I happen to be a member of the Shoora.”

“In any case, the institution is not a private property of any individual or a family, it is a heritage of the entire Muslim community,” he added.

Vastanvi’s remark was an obvious reflection on the common impression that the country’s most powerful Islamic seminary had turned into a ‘family affair’ of the Madni clan that has been traditionally owing allegiance to the Congress party.

The decision to replace Vastanvi was taken by the powerful governing council, which voted nine to four against the Maulana who had raised the hackles of many for praising Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s developmental policies.

Asked why he did not exercise the option to step down from office and waited for the Shoora to show him the door, he said: “When the three-member committee constituted to inquire into the charges levelled against me gave me a clean chit, there was no reason for me to resign. Yet, the Shoora decided to unilaterally throw me out.”

“Apparently, some people in the Shoora were in a hurry to have me out of the vice chancellor’s chair for reasons best known to them,” he said.

Vastanvi was initially compelled to tender his resignation from the prestigious position following large scale violence and demonstrations that rocked the Darul Uloom campus in January after his remarks on Modi.

Even as a strong pro-Vastanvi lobby stood up for him, and he too sought to emphasise that he never gave Modi any clean-chit for the latter’s role in the 2002 Gujarat riots, the Deoband governing council decided to appoint a three-member inquiry committee to go into the charges.

Despite the a majority of the committee going in favour of Vastanvi, the 14-member Majlis-e-Shoora remained sharply divided on the issue. After a debate, five Shoora members voted in favour of Vastanvi while the majority of nine preferred his ouster.

The decision was not welcomed by certain leading Islamic scholars in Lucknow , who supported Vastanvi’s charges, but they preferred not to be named.

“Actually, Deoband has been run like a private fiefdom of a particular family, which does not want to lose hold over the institution at any cost,” remarked a prominent Sunni Maulana, heading a number of institutions here.

Another cleric said: “Coming from a progressive, educated and financially sound background, Maulana Vastanvi would not have allowed anybody to use him, nor would he have played the second fiddle to anyone. Therefore, a strong lobby was built to have him out of the way.”

“I am convinced that Maulana Vastanvi remarks about Narendra Modi were twisted and misrepresented to give a false impression that he had said something in praise of the Gujarat chief minister,” he added. “The Maulana never gave Modi any clean chit for what he did against Muslims as chief minister in 2002.”

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