Kashmir University students protest against sacking of professor

Published on May 15, 2022 03:57 AM IST

Chemistry professor Altaf Hussain Pandit was removed from services on Friday over alleged terror links

This is for the first time that protests were staged against the termination of any government employee since the administration started dismissing people for alleged militant links last year. (HT file photo)
This is for the first time that protests were staged against the termination of any government employee since the administration started dismissing people for alleged militant links last year. (HT file photo)
By, Srinagar

Protests erupted in Kashmir University on Saturday against the sacking of chemistry professor Altaf Hussain Pandit by Jammu and Kashmir government.

This is for the first time that protests were staged against the termination of any government employee since the administration started dismissing people for alleged militant links last year.

Pandit, along with two other government employees (a cop and a schoolteacher), was removed from services on Friday in line with recommendations of a special task force set up last year by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to scrutinise and recommend cases for removal from government services over alleged terror links.

This provision gives the government the power to sack employees without an inquiry if “the President or the Governor, as the case may be, is satisfied that in the interest of the security of the State, it is not expedient to hold such inquiry”.

Eyewitnesses and university officials said scores of students assembled outside the department against the removal of Pandit. “He is a very dedicated teacher and has a strong research credentials. He would always be there for students and would never miss his classes,” said a protester. “We want the government to reconsider its decision. This move is certainly against the interests of students,” he added.

An official of the varsity said, “At least 60 students staged a protest and then dispersed peacefully.”

Pandit, 53, who was promoted to the professor rank in 2015, was to retire in 2031. He has been prominent for his research publications and has about 1,145 citations.

He is the highest ranking official among the three dozen people who have been sacked by the government in last one year.

“The Lieutenant Governor is satisfied after considering the facts and circumstances of the case and on the basis of the information available that the activities of Altaf Hussain Pandit, professor in Chemistry department, University of Kashmir S/o Ghulam Hassan Pandit R/o Wadoora Bala, Sopore are such as to warrant his dismissal from service,” the government order had stated.

When contacted on Pandit’s phone number, the caller on the other side said that he was not at home.

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