The top clergy of Darul Uloom are meeting in deoband on Wenesday to decide the fate of seminary’s Vice Chancellor (VC) Maulana Ghulam Mohammed Vastanvi.
Vastanvi has been in the eye of controversy for praising Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. There is speculation that he may be asked to quit.
The governing council of Darul Uloom will hold the meeting to decide on the key post following the controversy, the first of its kind in the history of the seminary. The 18-member council has two options — either it could allow Vastanvi to continue with a gag order or ask him to step down.
“Vastanvi is likely to be asked to step down to build a consensus on the new Vice-Chancellor of Darul Uloom,” a source with close links to council members told PTI.
He said two names doing the rounds are that of Maulana Mufti Abul Qasim Nomani, who is also a member of the council and held the top job for a month after the death of longtime VC Maulana Marghub Rehman last year, and the other name is Maulana Qamruddin, who is based in Deoband
Vastanvi, who hails from Gujarat and has a MBA degree, was elected VC on January 10. But soon after his appointment, he triggered a controversy with his remarks praising Modi’s rule and his development policy.
He reportedly said that Muslims should forget the communal riots of 2002 and move on and that the community did not face discrimination in Gujarat.
Nomani, in his 60s, runs a madarsa in Varanasi. With a non-controversial image, he is a front-runner for the post, the sources said.
However, few in the council feel that Vastanvi’s removal may send out a wrong signal and fresh demand can be raised to drop him from the council as well.
“A question can be raised by a section of people that if a person fails to be the VC what right he has to stay on the council,” the sources said.
Hundreds of students in the seminary remain divided on the issue. The teachers backing Vastanvi have threatened to go on strike if he is removed from the position.
In the second week of February, clashes broke out inside the seminary between pro and anti-Vastanvi groups, leaving several people injured.
Following the clashes, prohibitory orders were enforced by authorities under Section 144 of CrPC to ensure peace in the sensitive town.
Darul Uloom has banned media persons from entering its premises till February 23. The reason given was that presence of media persons was affecting students’ preparations for the upcoming examinations.
“This step has been taken to avoid the controversy affecting students busy preparing for their examinations beginning February 26,” Deputy Vice Chancellor Maulana Abdul Khalique said.