Thursday, July 14, 2011

Scholar alleges harassment by KU

A scholar at Kashmir University’s biochemistry department today alleged that he is being harassed by the authorities for seeking information under RTI.

The student, Arif Ahmad, alleged that he has been thrashed several times and was denied entry to the laboratory for seeking information about eligibility criteria for selection of Junior Research Fellow in the department of Immunology at SKIMS. The immunology department, Arif alleged, has selected an influential candidate in violation of the criteria.

“After advertising the post, SKIMS selected an influential candidate. It was done in violation of the criteria so I submitted an application for information about selection process.

“Next day, I was called to the department of biochemistry KU where three professors caged me in a room and in their presence the brother of the candidate beat me up. I was released only after I called the registrar,” Arif told Kashmir Times.
Arif said he was offered a monthly remuneration of Rs 18000 per month by the department for putting an end to the issue and for withdrawing the RTI application.

However, according to Arif, he turned down the offer that prompted the authorities to deny him entry into the laboratory.
“I wrote a letter to the registrar who referred it to the department. And surprisingly the department blamed me for not submitting the synopsis,” he alleged.

The blame forced the scholar to file an RTI application in the University seeking information about the number of scholars selected in the biochemistry department this year. But it landed him in more trouble, he said.

“When I went to collect the information, I was told that it is incomplete. And they asked me to go to the HoD biochemistry’s office. But as I was leaving the office, chief proctor caught me from the neck and shoved me into his chamber.

“There he asked the female staff to leave and closed the door. Afterwards he and his uniformed men beat me up for about an hour. Finally they called the security officer and lied to him that I had assaulted the chief proctor,” Arif alleged. The scholar has submitted a complaint in the office of chief information commissioner who, according to the officials, has sent a show cause notice to the varsity authorities.

He has also sent a written application to the Superintendent of Police Hazratbal, but so for there has been no response.Arif alleged that the varsity officials are not allowing him to meet the vice chancellor while “the police are also siding with the varsity.”

“The SP or the SHO are not responding to my complaint despite repeated pleas. I tried several times to meet the VC but the chief proctor and his allies have strictly instructed VC’s special secretary to prevent me from meeting him,” he alleged.
Arif said he is mulling to approach the State Human Rights Commission for justice in the case.

When contacted, the registrar KU, Prof S Fayaz, termed issue as “scholar’s misgiving.”“So far RTI is concerned, there is a proper procedure in place and we have no reason to deny information to anyone. Regarding the harassment allegations I do not think the university professors will harass or beat up anyone,” he said.

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