• Gorakhpur University: OBC teachers penalised for protesting irregularities in appointments

    Kumar Sameer

    October 29, 2018

    Members of the Pichhda Varg Kalyan Parishad demonstrating at the main gate of the Gorakhpur University, Uttar Pradesh, to protest irregularities in the appointment of teachers

    The controversy over appointments of the teachers at the Gorakhpur University is yet to die down. The action is being taken against the OBC teachers who questioned the irregularities in the appointments. This has led to the OBC teachers locking horns with the university administration.

    In the latest development, the administration has issued a show-cause notice to the University Executive Council member Prof Ajey Gupta, asking him to explain how and why he left the city without taking leave. According to the Pichhda Varg Kalyan Parishad of the University, Prof Gupta had gone out of the city to attend a meeting of the UGC National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) committee and had submitted a written leave application.

    According to the Parishad, Prof Gupta had applied for the leave a week before leaving and the head of his department (HoD) had forwarded his application. Issuance of a show-cause notice on such an issue is unheard of. For all practical purposes, the consent of the HoD is taken as acceptance of the leave request – whether the leave is for personal or official work. Formal sanction of leave by the university takes up to 60 days.

    If at all, the notice should have been issued to the HoD, who had forwarded the application, implying that he had accepted it. Attempts to contact the vice-chancellor V. K. Singh failed as his mobile was switched off. The notice is yet to be replied to and a section of the university teachers assert that such selective application of rules will not be tolerated.

    According to the Pichhda Varg Kalyan Parishad of the University, the only crime of Prof Gupta was that he was among the teachers who had opposed the appointments made by flouting the rules. The notice, they say, is a warning: Keep mum or be ready for unpleasant consequences. Kalyan Parishad chairman Prof Chandrabhushan Gupta and secretary Prof Anil Kumar Yadav said that action was taken against not only Gupta but all those who had raised questions on the process of appointment.

    Earlier, when Prof Ajey Gupta had given his letter of dissent at the meeting of the EC held to clear the appointments, he was relieved from the post of in-charge of the Electronic Data Processing (EDP) cell. This position is considered important because it is the EDP cell which prepares the computerized data of results of the examinations conducted by the university. At that time too, the varsity administration has refused to say anything on the issue and the then registrar had declined to comment.

    Amar Singh Patel, working on the post of personal secretary in the Uttar Pradesh government, was also harassed over the same issue. He was charged with putting up a post on his Twitter account, questioning Chief Minister Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma over the appointment of candidates from a particular caste to 52 of the 72 assistant professor posts in the university. After this, Mahesh Gupta, additional chief secretary in the chief minister’s secretariat, ordered departmental action against him.

    The university administration issued show-cause notices to Prof Chandrabhushan Gupta and Anil Kumar Yadav of the Parishad, asking them why action should not be taken against them for leading a protest against the appointments. They replied that the objective of the demonstration was just to remind the university that the UGC, on 19 July, had issued an order asking all universities to put an immediate halt to the process of appointments. “How can holding a demonstration in the interest of the university be construed as an act of indiscipline?”, they asked. The university, then, slapped another notice on them, saying that the language used in their reply was inappropriate and aggressive.

    Dr Durga Prasad Yadav, president of the Samvidhan Sanrakshan Manch, says that the university administration has launched a campaign against those fighting against the injustice, and the notices are a part of that campaign. He said that an unannounced emergency has been imposed in the varsity and efforts are being made to stifle the voice of the teachers. “But we will continue to raise our voice and if needed, we will also take to the streets,” he said. According to him, they were not waging a personal battle but a battle against unconstitutional decisions and for social justice. “If the administration thinks that we will be cowed down by such notices, it is wrong. If positive action is not taken on our complaints, we will not sit quiet. They are committing wrongs and are harassing those who are pointing this out. This will not be tolerated.”

    What are the key allegations?

    Many serious charges have been made vis-à-vis appointment of teachers. It is said that many of the new appointees have less-than-required academic qualifications and either their kin are already employed with the university or they have some other connection with it. For instance, Rakesh Kumar Singh, son of Prof Ramdev Singh, former head and dean of the Department of Education, was appointed in the same department despite the fact that many of the other applicants had higher educational qualifications than him. Durgesh Pal is a research student of Prof Shobha Gaud. Anupam Singh is a member of the ABVP and his Facebook profile says so. Mamta Chaudhary, who had applied as a general category candidate, was appointed under the SC category in the Department of Education. She is a research student of former dean and HoD Snehlata Shahi.

    The list of candidates called for the interview for assistant professor in the Department of Education shows Mamta Chaudhary as a general-category candidate. In her appointment letter, she has clearly mentioned that she is applying under the general category and she has deposited Rs 1,500 as fee. But later, the word “general” was deleted and “SC” was written instead. Similarly, the fee was changed from Rs 1,500 to Rs 1,000. And these changes have not been authenticated by the candidate by affixing her signature and the stamp of the university has not been put there.

    Similar is the case of Vandana Singh, who has been appointed as assistant professor in the law department. She was interviewed as a general-category candidate but was appointed under the OBC category. Her application form also clearly mentions that she is applying under the general category.

    The question that arises is that when the recruitment process was conducted online, why changes were made in the forms manually. Does this not show that the process lacks transparency? The university administration should answer these questions.


     

    First published in Forward Press.

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