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Rohtak university suspends associate professor over Facebook post

The teacher had questioned varsity’s reluctance to accpet state government’s appointment of financial officer.

india Updated: Mar 31, 2018 11:00 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Rohtak
Facebook post,Maharshi Dayanand University,MDU
Ashwani Dhingra

The executive council of Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU), Rohtak, on Friday suspended an associate professor over a Facebook post in which he had questioned the university’s reluctance to accept the state government’s appointment of a financial officer.

Ashwani Dhingra, an associate professor in mechanical engineering department, said he had on February 10 written this post on his personal Facebook account: “The Haryana government has deputed a financial officer at MDU Rohtak. But people here at MDU are protesting his appointment. MDU wants grants from the state government then why not a financial officer? Now, everyone can understand the fear— if government’s financial officer is appointed, a lot could be exposed.”

Dhingra said he followed up the post in comment section, where some university officials termed the government’s appointment of financial officer at MDU ‘a threat to the university’s autonomy’.

Dhingra wrote: “Autonomy does not mean the monopoly to do financial irregularities. The appointment is being resisted because someone from outside will act like a watchdog over university. Already, our university has spent huge amount in non-fruitful (sic) activities.”

He further wrote in one of the comments that the present financial advisor working at MDU was appointed through nepotism.

Two weeks after the Facebook post, Dhingra said he received a notice from the university seeking his explanation on his post.

The notice said Dhingra had defamed the image of the university and asked him to furnish documentary evidence of the financial irregularities and unfruitful activities as he mentioned in his Facebook post.

The notice stated he had violated the university’s guidelines ‘which made it clear that no professor was allowed to give a statement in the media’. The notice further asked Dhingra to prove nepotism charge in appointment of present financial advisor.

In his reply to the notice, Dhingra said he attached the recent report of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, which had rapped the MDU for irregularities and wasting crores of rupees on unfruitful activities.

Dhingra further alleged in his reply that he was being harassed by MDU vice-chancellor BK Punia for the irregularities he had highlighted on several occasions— including the recent one where he filed a police complaint against the V-C and some others for allegedly rigging the teachers’ association elections in which he was contesting for the president’s post.

But the reply was reportedly found to be unsatisfactory by the executive council, which ordered his suspension till further notice.

“This is witch-hunting and attack on my freedom of speech. They decided to take action against me by hook or crook,” Dhingra said.

V-C Punia did not respond to HT’s repeated calls. He had said that Dhingra violated UGC and MDU’s norms with his Facebook post when HT had contacted him earlier over the notice.

BLURB Teacher had questioned university’s reluctance to accept state govt’s appointment of financial officer

First Published: Mar 31, 2018 10:59 IST