A sections of students led a protest and allegedly manhandled some officials at Aligarh Muslim University Monday after the vice-chancellor accepted the resignation of Registrar Shahrukh Shamshad who two hours later tried to retract it claiming that he had been “forced to resign under duress”.
The resignation comes weeks after the office of the Vice-President of India asked Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to look into the complaints of alleged manipulations in the appointment of Shamshad’s appointment as Registrar.
Vice-Chancellor Lt Gen (Retd) Zameeruddin Shah, refused Shamshad’s request for retraction of the resignation letter.
“The Registrar had tendered his resignation on “health grounds” at 9:30 am and the same was accepted by the Vice-Chancellor at 10 am. Later, the Registrar sent an email at 11:26 am alleging he had resigned under duress. But once a resignation is promulgated, it cannot be retracted,” University spokesperson Dr Rahat Abrar said.
He said Shamshad’s allegations were baseless and the “V-C has not allowed him to retract the resignation”.
Dr Afsar Ali Khan, an assistant professor in the electrical engineering department, has been appointed as the officiating Registrar until the selection of a new Registrar.
Questioning the manner in which the Registrar was “removed”, some students later protested outside the V-C office, allegedly manhandling the officials accompanying Shah. “About 250-300 of us had gone to the V-C to inquire about the condemnable circumstances under which the Registrar was forced to resign. He did meet us but did not give any satisfactory answer,” said student leader Kunwar Mohammad Ahmad, from second year MA (Political Science). He, however, claimed that the students did not misbehave with the staff.
Expressing “surprise” over the protests, Abrar said that the matter does not concern the students.
Notably, taking cognizance of a representation by former AMU student union president Shahzad Alam ‘Barni’, the under-secretary to Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Mahitab Singh, had sent a representation to MHRD urging “appropriate action,” with regards to the complaints in the appointment of the Registrar.
Using special powers, the V-C had appointed Shamshad as Registrar on ad-hoc basis on May 17, 2012. The post was advertised a month later on June 16, 2012.
But, Alam had alleged that as per an RTI reply, instead of 45 days given to respond to the advertisement, it was extended to two months as Shamshad did not meet the mandatory criteria of having a Master’s degree and was waiting for his “fake”degree to arrive. The Registrar had said that he did extend the date of responding against the advertisement as he was waiting for his degree to arrive but maintained that it was genuine.
RTI replies further showed that Shamshad received his Master’s degree from the controversial Eastern Institute for Integrated Learning in Management (EIILM), Sikkim, on August 27, 2012, which was after his appointment as Registrar. Last year, the V-C and registrar of EIILM were arrested for issuing fake degrees and the UGC also asked it to discontinue all distance mode courses.
Alam had also alleged that as per RTI replies, Shamshad did his MBA between January 2010 and December 2011 from EILLM even though he was with the Indian Air Force between 2005 and 2011.