Lecturer arrested for setting ‘anti-establishment’ paper

College Teachers Condemn Govt Action

WASIM KHALID

Srinagar, Dec 10: A government college lecturer was arrested on Friday for allegedly setting a question paper with ‘anti-establishment’ text. After taking suo motto cognizance of the matter, police have registered a case against the lecturer. College teachers of the Valley have criticized the arrest and demanded his immediate release.
The detained lecturer has been identified as Noor Mohammad Bhat of Gandhi Memorial College.
On Friday, some newspapers reported that students appearing in the English paper for BA, BSc and B Com Ist Year annual examination were asked to translate an Urdu passage to English, a paragraph portraying the killings of youngsters, curfews, strikes and highhandedness of troops during the six month long unrest.
The police described the passage as “anti-establishment.” Apart from that, the paper also asked students questions like, “Are the stone-pelters the real heroes?”
The police said that Bhat was arrested after taking suo motto cognizance of the matter.
“He was detained under Section 13 of Unlawful Activities Act and 153 CRPC,” SP Hazratbal, Maqsood-ul-Zaman Deva told Greater Kashmir. “The accused professor has set a question paper which carried objectionable text against the establishment,” he said.
The police official said it was from some newspapers and reliable sources that they came to know about the “controversial paper.” “The text of the passage was carried by some newspapers,” he said adding that investigations have been initiated into the case.
Another police official said they called the lecturer to the Nageen police station.
“He was detained and is lodged there,” the official said.
Kashmir College Teachers Association President, Tariq Ashai, said that Bhat was innocent.
“He is a teacher, a literary personality who keenly observes the happenings of the surroundings,” Ashai said. “So when he was asked to set paper, he translated his observations and feelings on paper.”
Ashai said the Association met the authorities and demanded his release.
“We told the authorities that the same issues were discussed on TV and press,” he said. “But nobody has any objection or never is it taken seriously.”
He said that Bhat appeared in all the four elections for duty and that he had no criminal record.
“In addition, while setting the paper, many people are involved. Why the lone teacher was pinpointed,” Ashai asked. “He is a teacher. So the case should not be taken seriously.”
Meanwhile, students who appeared in the exam castigated the arrest.
“We were happy that we were asked questions related to unrest and stone pelting,” a student of Islamia College said. “There was nothing wrong in the text. We have witnessed those things with our eyes. Truth can not be hidden by arresting one odd lecturer.”
The students said if authorities were so concerned about the “anti-national” and “anti-establishment” views then why not minister for Health Sham Lal Sharma was arrested for sedition charges.
“Why police did not take suo motto cognizance in his case,” the students asked. “They only know how to act against weak.”
Minister of PHE and senior Cabinet Minister, Taj Mohiudin, said that it was a grave issue and law has to take its own course.
Asked why to fix responsibility on single person when many people are involved in setting the paper, he said, “During the investigation it will become clear.”
But when asked why no action was initiated in a similar case against a senior Cabinet Minister when he talked of Azadi, Taj said, “I can not comment. The subject pertains to Home Department.”
Although the department of Higher Education sought a report from the Kashmir University on the issue, Commissioner Secretary Higher Education department, Tanveer Jahan, said she had “no idea” about the arrest of the lecturer. “I have no idea about the lecturer and the issue itself. The matter belongs to University and does not pertain to my domain.”
President of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, Mehbooba Mufti, said, “Government has only one answer for every problem, that is put people behind bars and go on beating spree.”
“There should have been proper investigation to know the facts of the matter,” Mufti told Greater Kashmir. “Only one teacher is not involved in paper setting. It goes through a process. Here only a single person is being targeted. Why? Unfortunately the Government knows only high-handedness,” she said.

Lastupdate on : Fri, 10 Dec 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 10 Dec 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 11 Dec 2010 00:00:00 IST




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