Deoband: The top clergy of Darul Uloom on Wednesday backed Maulana Ghulam Mohammed Vastanvi - under fire for praising Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi - to continue as the Vice Chancellor of the seminary, but with limited authority.
According to reports, the 14-member governing council of Darul Uloom known as Majlis-e-Soora, while allowing Vastanvi to continue in his position, decided to form a three-member committee to probe the veracity of the claims made by him regarding the growing prosperity of Muslims living in Gujarat.
The members of the governing council also limited the authority vested in Vastanvi to move or approve new proposals or resolutions, till the investigations into his claims about Muslims in Gujarat is completed.
Moreover, the governing council appointed Maulana Mufti Abul Qasim Nomani as the acting VC to look after the seminary’s work, whenever Vastanvi is out of the town – as per reports, Nomani would hold the powers till the committee completes its probe.
Nomani, in his 60s, runs a madarsa in Varanasi and has a non-controversial image.
Importantly, if the probe committee finds truth in the allegations against Vastnavi, he will quit and pave way for Nomani to take over as the Vice Chancellor.
Ahead of the meeting there were speculations that the 14-member council will either allow Vastanvi to continue with a gag order or ask him to step down.
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.
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.
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.