Drawing flak for his alleged praise of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, Deoband Islamic Seminary's vice chancellor Maulana Mohammad Ghulam Vastanvi on Wednesday said he has quit, but not under any pressure. He also alleged that it was a "conspiracy" against him.
"I have resigned from the post...I don't want there should be any kind of problem or indiscipline (in the seminary) due to me," Vastanvi told reporters in Deoband, around 450 km from Lucknow.
"I have tendered the resignation not under any kind of pressure," added Vastanvi, who holds an MBA, along with degrees in Islamic laws.
Asked to comment on the protests he has been facing over his reported remarks that were interpreted as endorsing Modi's rule in Gujarat, Vastanvi replied, "I have already made my stand clear over the issue...I was misquoted...I think that issue has nothing to do with Darul Uloom. As of now, it all appears as a conspiracy against me."
"I don't know who are behind the conspiracy, whose hands are behind it...Therefore, I cannot say anything in this regard," he added.
According to a Darul Uloom source, Maulana Vastanvi's resignation would be placed before the institution's governing council, 'Majlis-e-Shoora' on Feb 15, and the final decision would be taken then.
Asked whether he would continue to head the institution if his resignation is not accepted by the governing council, Vastanvi said the decision would be taken later.
Vastanvi's resignation comes after recent demonstrations in the Darul Uloom campus, where groups of students and the faculty entered a free for all. While a large chunk of students was unrelenting in their demand for the ouster of the vice chancellor, whom they were unwilling to pardon for allegedly praising Modi, another group stood up in support of Vastanvi.
Claiming that the vice chancellor's remarks about the Gujarat chief minister had been "distorted and twisted" by the media, members of the pro Vastanvi faction alleged the tirade against the vice chancellor was motivated by certain vested interests.
The anti Vastanvi group staged a sit in demonstration on January 24, raising slogans of "Modi-Nawaz VC waapas jao" (Modi admiring VC go back). They have resolved to continue their agitation until the vice chancellor leaves the campus.