regular-article-logo Thursday, 21 September 2023

Sheikh Showkat Hussain sacked as principal of Kashmir Law College

J&K government has in recent months fired several employees for their alleged separatist and militant links

Muzaffar Raina Srinagar Published 12.04.22, 02:02 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. Shutterstock

A private law college in Srinagar has sacked its principal, with suggestions that the action came under pressure from government agencies and owed to his support for the separatist ideology.

Sheikh Showkat Hussain had retired as head and dean of the School of Legal Studies at the Central University of Kashmir in 2019, and then taken over as principal of the Srinagar-based Kashmir Law College.


Hussain’s mobile was switched off but a source close to him said: “He was verbally told about three days ago that he had ceased to be the principal.”

A teacher at the college confirmed the sacking and said it was the subject of various theories, one being that Hussain had reached a purported age limit of 65.

“God knows the truth. The management told us nothing,” he said.

Another employee said the college, affiliated to the state-run Kashmir University, had been under pressure from “certain quarters” to fire Hussain.

Hussain was considered close to separatist hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who died last year.

A statement from an unidentified source, quoted by the news agency Kashmir News Service and reported by local media, provides a clue to the sacking by saying “the administration has started a discreet process of ascertaining full details of (Hussain’s) antecedents and past activities”.

The statement describes Hussain as a “hard-line ideologue of Pakistani-backed separatist organisations” who has been “secretly in touch with elements of secessionist and terrorist networks” and adds that revocation of his pension is under consideration.

After Geelani’s death, Husain had in a Facebook post said: “Syed Ali Shah Geelani was a symbol of an aspiration and aspirations never die. He remained an inspiration. Will continue to remain so until his mission is accomplished.”

Hussain is active on social media but has not reacted to the sacking. However, on Sunday evening, he posted a saying of Prophet Muhammad that appeared linked to the subject.

“Fasting is a shield, so when one of you is fasting, he should neither indulge in obscene language nor should he raise his voice in anger. If someone attacks him or insults him, let him say: I am fasting,” he quoted the Prophet as saying.

It’s now the holy month of Ramazan, during which Muslims hold daytime fasts.

A source close to Hussain denied the alleged militant link. He underlined that Hussain had taught at the Central University of Kashmir and the Kashmir University for decades and never before faced issues related to his political beliefs.

The Jammu and Kashmir government has in recent months fired several employees for their alleged separatist and militant links.

The statement quoted by the news agency claims that "in 2016, he (Hussain) along with Pakistani-sponsored secessionist Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Arundhati Roy, Prof S.A.R. Geelani and others had participated at a convention titled Azadi - The Only Way at Press Club of India, New Delhi".

"He was one among others who delivered an anti-India speech at the convention and anti-India slogans were also raised at the convention. Delhi Police had registered an FIR under Sections 124A (sedition), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 149 (unlawful assembly) in connection with the said convention," the statement says.

It adds that the "competent public authority are actively considering invoking relevant provisions of pension-related laws that authorises the state to forfeit pension when there is credible evidence of acting as a covert ideologue of secessionist and terrorist networks to justify violence and separatist politics projecting it as moral and desirable."

Hussain reportedly draws a monthly pension of Rs 1 lakh.

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