Deoband (UP): The top clergy of Darul
Uloom will meet here Wednesday to decide the fate of seminary`s
Vice-Chancellor Maulana Ghulam Mohammed Vastanvi, who stirred
a controversy by praising Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra
Modi, amid speculation that he may be asked to quit.
The faction-ridden Majlis-e-Soora or 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, sources said.
They said 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. 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
"This step has been taken to avoid the controversy
affecting students busy preparing for their examinations
beginning February 26," Deputy Vice Chancellor Maulana Abdul