Why PM wants Amitabh Mattoo as VC JCU when no takers for him in Jammu
by Ajaat Jamwal on 28 Apr 2010 49 Comments

Jammu has been boiling for the past month over the demand for a local as Vice Chancellor of Central University of Jammu, after the name of Sidiq Wahid, ex-member of All Party Hurriyat Conference’s Election Commission and presently Vice Chancellor of Islamic University, Kashmir, emerged as front runner for the post.


The people of Jammu region who fought a long battle for the sanction of Central University of Jammu became alert, and various political and social groups started demanding a Jammuite as first Vice Chancellor of the Central University.


As though the opposition of Jammu people to a separatist ideologue was not enough, the cronies of another pro-separatist ex-vice chancellor of Jammu University, Prof. Amitabh Mattoo, floated his name and planted stories in local and national dailies about his appointment to the post and even declared the date of joining as Monday last!


What is amazing is a strange perception in Jammu about the brewing controversy with regard to the self-proclaimed incumbent Vice Chancellor for the newly proposed Central University in Jammu. Everybody opposing Amitabh Mattoo’s nomination as the first vice chancellor of the Central University, including Kashmiri Pandits, has been seeing him as a representative of Prime Minister of India. Why is such perception gaining ground in Jammu?

The answer to the riddle lies in the politics practiced at the highest level in the Government of India with regard to the future of Jammu and Kashmir. It smacks of intrigue to many to notice how the appointment of a vice chancellor for a University in Jammu and Kashmir could be linked to the future of the state and a settlement with Pakistan. Many eyebrows were raised when Prof. Mattoo was appointed as vice chancellor of Jammu University at a very young age and perhaps without all the qualifications necessary to qualify for such a position. People attributed his coming to the Jammu University to the initiatives of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA on Jammu and Kashmir.

Mattoo had endeared himself to the US government for his views on disarmament as well as Kashmir. With Vajpayee and his National Security Advisor ready to walk an extra mile to please Americans not only with regard to the Nuclear and economic issues, but also Jammu and Kashmir, Mattoo’s candidature as vice chancellor assumed a momentum of its own. With Congress totally reluctant to oppose any of Vajpayee’s reconciliatory gestures to Pakistan and Americans and BJP more than willing to accommodate the separatist point of view on Kashmir, a vice chancellor of Jammu University with very pronounced views about changing the status quo in Jammu and Kashmir was seen as a very handy instrument to help in pushing forward the new geopolitics.

Prof. Mattoo’s family ties with Brajesh Mishra’s family and longstanding family acquaintance with the Mufti clan strengthened his claim in a way that almost all political quarters in the state fell in line and accepted his being planted in Jammu University as an acceptable face for internal as well as external peace diplomacy. Mattoo did not disappoint his mentors. Not only did he buy the support of conflicting interests in Jammu University by flaunting his influence and reach, he also soon became one of the determining factors about whom to promote and whom not to with regard to the entire Track-II and Track-III engagements in the state.


In PUGWASH, he was the blue-eyed boy who decided whom to invite and whom no to. Through the aegis of his position in PUGWASH he would offer free foreign trips to pliant candidates to widen his support structures within the political establishment. He did it with finesse but only faltered while dealing the University affairs. In Jammu University, he was seen cultivating an abject atmosphere of sycophancy which eventually derailed the good start he had given in promoting the interests of the University.

Mattoo’s views in support of shared sovereignty, porous borders, joint management and abject accommodation of Muslim separatist interests endeared him to Pakistan, USA and a section of Government of India which included the Prime Minister. But the most vital qualification which people in power thought he had was his being a Kashmiri Pandit. Being a KP, his support for the compromise formula on Jammu and Kashmir provided a secular cover to the entire operation which the Government of India was conducting in the state. His prominence was being flaunted also to smother the mainstream view of Kashmiri Pandits on the Kashmir issue.


After all, any compromise on Kashmir has to have a symbolic acceptance of Kashmiri Pandits so that it can be sold to the people of India. Mattoo to the annoyance of so many Kashmiri Pandit leaders and activists in many organizations, promoted persons within the community with a weak personal integrity and proclivity to submit to anything and everything to be on the right side of the government. His promotion of Jatinder Bakshi and similar cronies did not go well with his own community.


Mattoo was aware that his tenure as vice chancellor of Jammu University may not last perpetually and he had not as yet gathered enough support to be promoted to a higher level. So he tried as VC of Jammu University to create spaces which could help him remain in the state for a longer period. When former Governor SK Sinha talked about the creation of Shardapeeth University, Mattoo lapped up the idea and tried to promote it amongst the Pandit community, which was very doubtful about the whole venture. Mattoo projected at that time amongst his cronies that he would be the first vice chancellor of Shardapeeth University. The idea did not take off because of the departure of SK Sinha and also lack of support within KPs for this idea.

Manmohan Singh after becoming the Prime Minister did not disturb Mattoo as a pointsman in Jammu and Kashmir because he had already decided to carry forward the Kashmir policy of Vajpayee a notch or two ahead. Mattoo was a cog in the wheel, which nobody would like to lose in that segment of the Government of India which supported a compromise with Musharraf. So despite being a BJP nominee, Congress continued with him. In the UPA-II Manmohan Singh became more assertive to push his perspectives on Kashmir forward. He virtually confirmed the contention of Musharraf and Kasuri that a ‘deal’ on Jammu and Kashmir had almost been clinched.


By this time, Mattoo was no longer the vice chancellor of Jammu University and was desperately searching for a new space. The proposal of creation of a Central University in Jammu became handy for Manmohan Singh to place him again in the state and carry forward the unfinished agenda. Amitabh Mattoo, who is reportedly trying to take advantage of being a Kashmiri Pandit, has little support base among the community members as he is seen more as a ‘pointsman’ to implement the unfinished agenda (Musharraf formula) on Jammu and Kashmir than being a representative of the community.

A.N. Vaishnavi, the senior most leader of the Kashmiri Pandit community, sees Mattoo as a puppet in the hands of the Centre, who is being sent on a mission to carry out its orders. “Prof. Mattoo is neither representing the community nor the nation, he simply carries out the orders of the central government while being on a position in Jammu.” Kashmiri pundits were not benefitted during his earlier tenure as Vice Chancellor Jammu University while he carried out the orders of his masters.

Dr. Ajay Chrungoo, chairman of Panun Kashmir a leading Kashmiri Pandit organization, says that whatever Mattoo has said about Kashmir in no way reflects the view or the interests of KPs. “We have never agreed with his views on Kashmir or even Kashmiri Pandits and so nobody should commit a mistake of identifying his placement in Jammu as furthering of KPs interests.” It is just another attempt by the Government of India to foist its ‘hitmen’ to further the agenda of giving away of Jammu and Kashmir.

Dr. Agnishekhar, another prominent Kashmiri Pandit leader, observes that Mattoo’s reported nomination as vice chancellor of the Central University is of great concern to the Kashmiri Pandit community as well as the Dogras of Jammu region. He said that we see no benefit of his being the vice chancellor of Central University but it can escalate the already fragile atmosphere in the state. “We are holding an emergent meeting on the issue and would come out with a detailed response soon,” said Dr Agnishekhar.



Prof Amitabh Mattoo, b. June 26, 1962, Vice Chancellor of University of Jammu at the age of 40 years; aspiring to be Vice Chancellor of Central University of Jammu.


-        Relative of Brajesh Mishra, then National Security Advisor to NDA Government and now boss of the pro-Congress, Mukesh Ambani-owned Observer Research Foundation.


-        Was brought to Jammu to facilitate the Peace Process crafted by Vajpayee Government.


-        Switched loyalty to UPA government by using Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s clout in the All India Congress Committee.


-        Serving as a de-facto consultant to Separatist leaders in Kashmir.


-        Acting as a pointsman for both Americans and Pakistanis in Jammu region.


-        Main person who selects and promotes persons amongst Hindus in Jammu for various assignments, tours on behalf of various anti-India NGOs, Human Right group working for separatists as well as official requirements of Pakistan.


-        Seeks resolution of Kashmir imbroglio by creating porous borders with Pakistan; dilution of Indian sovereignty by promoting Joint Management and sharing with Pakistan. Is the actual architect of the Self- Rule proposal of the People’s Democratic Party which was released by Mehbooba Mufti in Pakistan.


All in all, an internal saboteur.


The author is a senior journalist in Jammu

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