Srinagar: A day after the Jammu and Kashmir administration invoked Article 311 of the constitution of India and dismissed three government employees, including a professor of Kashmir University, from their services for their alleged “militancy links and secessionist activities”, scores of the university students staged a sit-in protest outside Chemistry department in Kashmir University to register their protest against the termination.
The protesting students shouted slogans against the administration’s order and sought reinvestigation of the case and the order to be withdrawn on an immediate basis.
One of the protesting students told Free Press Kashmir that all the allegations put on Professor Altaf are “baseless and based on propaganda”.
Praising the professor’s dedication and sincerity towards the education sector, and particularly for the Chemistry department, students requested to revoke the sacking order and reinvestigation of the case.
Pointing out to other students, a group of students from south Kashmir who was also part of the protest, said that they have been his [Professor’s] students for the last four years and none of them ever heard their teacher talking against the government and laws.
The students, both male, and female said students who learned under his tutelage are “serving at big posts across India”.
“His termination is a huge setback for the varsity students who are currently in need of his guidance,” said one student, who, along with other students, traveled from north Kashmir, to register their protest and put forth their “genuine” demand.
“Many of his research papers are being suggested in the field of chemistry for new discoveries, why would someone of his caliber engage in what yesterday’s order mentioned?,” asked another student.
Professor Altaf was scheduled to be promoted as the Head of the Department soon; however, his sacking has put all of them in shock, the students claimed.
The students demanded reinvestigation of the case and the termination order against him to be canceled.
Another protesting student who spoke to Free Press Kashmir said that Professor Altaf has twenty years of contributions in the field of science and innovations, and his termination will demoralize future science students.
“Teachers with such efficiency and talent should not have been rewarded like this,” he said.
Our teacher’s termination has not only impacted him and his family, but his students are also equally bearing the brunt.
Appealing to the Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, the students sought an early intervention and reinvestigation of the case.
Pertinently, Professor Altaf Hussain Pandit, according to an order accessed by Free Press Kashmir, has been sacked by the JK administration for “actively supporting militancy”.
The two others are Mohd Maqbool Hajam, a teacher in the school education department, and Ghulam Rasool, a Jammu Kashmir Police Constable.
“The recent crackdown is part of the government effort to detect and mitigate militancy elements within the system who somehow managed to sneak in within the system in previous regimes,” the order mentions.
It says, “Professor is said to be actively associated with Jamaat-e-Islam (JeI) and he had crossed over to Pakistan for ‘militant’ training. He remained an active militant of JKLF for three years before his arrest in 1993. He also remained an active cadre of JeI and worked as a militant recruiter. He was instrumental in organizing stone pelting, violent protests on the killing of militants in 2011 and 2014”.
In 2015, the order mentions, Altaf Hussain became an executive member of the Kashmir University Teachers Association and used his position to propagate “secessionism among students”.