Will a separatist-friendly VC head Central University Jammu?
by Ajaat Jamwal on 29 Mar 2010 14 Comments

If signals emanating from New Delhi are to be believed, the Man Mohan Singh led United Progressive Alliance government is considering the names of former Vice-Chancellor of Jammu University, Amitabh Mattoo, and former Chair Professor, Maharaja Gulab Singh Chair, University of Jammu, and present Vice-Chancellor of Islamic Technical University, Awantipur, Kashmir, Sidiq Wahid, for the coveted position of Vice-Chancellor of the Central University Jammu.

If these reports are correct, then it can be said that a separatist-friendly Vice-Chancellor would head the Central University Jammu to further strengthen the stranglehold of anti-Jammu and anti-India forces in the nationalist Dogra land.  It is not a good omen for the state as well as the Indian nation.  The appointment of Prof. Amitabh Mattoo or Sidiq Wahid as Vice-Chancellor of Central University Jammu would demonstrate the UPA government’s willingness to promote the supporters of Kashmiri separatists and appoint them to key posts in the state.

The credentials of Amitabh Mattoo are not inspiring. During a 6-year-long stay in Jammu, he mismanaged everything, promoted a culture of sycophancy, and politicized appointments. He eroded the institutions of headship and deanship and superseded senior and meritorious persons in promotions to higher positions. A high-powered and impartial inquiry would establish that this was the worst period in the University of Jammu. It’s little wonder that the present incumbent has not been able to bring the university back on track in the past year. Under Mattoo things deteriorated to the extent that certain legislators raised the issue of bungling in the university in the state assembly.

Mattoo not only mismanaged the university.  He flirted with those seeking self-rule and autonomy for and separation of Kashmir from India.

It is pertinent to mention that Amitabh Mattoo holds a very important position in the America-based PUGWASH whose attitude towards India is negative.  That was the reason the Prime Minister and his National Security Advisor did not allow him to hold the PUGWASH conference in Mumbai some four years ago.  It was then organized in Colombo, Sri Lanka.


Amitabh Mattoo has all along advocated solutions to the “Kashmir problem” which could be termed as pro-autonomy, pro-self-rule, pro-separatist, and even pro-Pakistan.  Even a cursory glance look his writings in The Hindu, the Indian Express and The Hindustan Times before joining Jammu University as Vice-Chancellor support the conclusion that his attitude towards India has been no different from that of the Kashmiri separatists.


It would be appropriate to reproduce verbatim from his December 2000 article “Framework for Peace: a symposium on efforts to broker peace in Kashmir”, to put things in perspective. The Mandate, Jammu, reproduced this highly controversial article the same month; it inter-alia, states: “An imaginative Kashmir policy rooted in what might be termed as ten commandments, can still make a difference. …Autonomy must not be viewed as a dirty word, and an ‘autonomous’ Kashmir could become a model of cooperative  federalism … There is no contradiction between wanting Kashmir to be part of the national mainstream and the state’s desire for autonomous self-governance… Autonomy can be achieved in the
state through a simple six-point. Restore the nomenclature. The terms Sadr-e-Riyasat and Wazir-e-Azam, which were used until 1965 for the Governor and the Chief Minister of the state, still have important symbolic value for the people of the state (read Kashmiri Muslims)… Give the state a role in the selection of the Governor… Prevent misuse of Article 356… Give state services more authority and increase quota in the All India Services… Appoint a regional election commissioner for the state… It is essential, therefore, that special constitutional guarantees are introduced to ensure that the state’s autonomy is not eroded. It may be necessary, for instance, to introduce a provision in the constitution, which would provide for a referendum in the State before any major amendment that would affect its ties with the Union becomes a law… The admission of mistakes (committed by Union Government) is the first step towards restoring trust between New Delhi and Kashmir… No condition must be attached at the beginning of a dialogue… A dialogue must not be for merely buying time or for transferring power to a new leadership, but for arriving at a modus vivendi that can ensure long term peace in the state…”

It is hardly necessary to debate the implications of what Mattoo wrote in December 2000. Each word is self-explanatory. That his views on Jammu & Kashmir have not undergone any change during the past decade could be seen from what he wrote on October 13, 2009, in “The Jammu & Kashmir elections and after” (Greater Jammu, Jammu):

“The real long-term importance of the 2008 elections, however, will lie in the manner in which New Delhi responds to the aspirations of the people (of Kashmir)… That the people, who took to the streets in Kashmir a few months ago in a mass Intifada-like uprising… should turn out in even larger numbers to vote in the elections may be seen by cynics as evidence of fickleness. This would be a mistake… New Delhi must not view the elections as signaling a return to ‘business-as-usual’ in the politics of the state. The triumph of democracy should not be a moment for triumphalism. By acting in a statesmanlike fashion now, New Delhi and Jammu/Srinagar will demonstrate a willingness to reward participation in the democratic process and will not be seen as capitulating to extra-constitutional pressure… The Centre must consider revamping the Fifth Working Group on Centre-State Relations, which failed to arrive at a consensus.  A new expert group can consult with all stakeholders to forge common ground on issues of autonomy and self-rule… Will the state and the Central Government respond to this new peaceful assertion of the people…for real change?”

such are the credentials of Amitabh Mattoo who is being considered by the HRD Ministry for the position of Vice-Chancellor of Central University Jammu. It appears that the search committee, which has according to a section of the media, recommended his name for the top position in Central University, Jammu, has not taken cognizance of his controversial credentials, including his stakeholders-formulation. (Our contention is that there is only one stakeholder in the state and it is the Indian Nation.)

Identical is the story of Sidiq Wahid, who is also closely associated with PUGWASH and was appointed as Election Commissioner by separatist All Party Hurriet Conference owing to his close proximity with the separatists. Wahid served as Maharaja Gulab Singh Chair Professor in the University of Jammu for nearly nine months between 2004 and 2005. During this short tenure, he flouted all university rules with impunity. He visited several countries, including Pakistan, and participated in several seminars, most of which were anti-India, without seeking permission from the concerned authorities in the University of Jammu.

Sources revealed that he flouted service rules despite several warnings and despite the fact that the University authorities did not release his salary for months together. The University authorities refused to release his salary despite the fact that the then Vice-Chancellor Amitabh Mattoo went out of the way to help Sidiq Wahid. He could release his salary only after one of the concerned administrative heads quit his position before time.

Sidiq Wahid did not write a single paper on the history of Jammu & Kashmir during his tenure at the university, nor later. In fact, he was not competent to write anything on the history of Jammu & Kashmir, as he didn’t know even the A B C of history.  It was the talk of the town during that period that managed his entry into Jammu University courtesy Prof. Mattoo, only to use it as a launching pad; this turned out to be true.  He hobnobbed with the then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed because of his views on Jammu & Kashmir and became Vice-Chancellor of Islamic (Technical) University.

There is an urgent need for the HRD Ministry to reconsider the panel of names submitted to it by the search committee in the light of what Amitabh Mattoo and Sidiq Wahid have written and done and the (bad) reputation they enjoy in the state for their misdeeds and anti-India proposals. The Central University Jammu needs an academician Vice-Chancellor, and not a mercenary. Even otherwise, the HRD Ministry cannot afford to appoint persons like Mattoo and Wahid considering the widespread resentment in Jammu against them.

For over a week, students, scholars and socio-political organizations have expressed resentment at the proposed appointment of an outsider for the coveted post of Vice Chancellor, Central University Jammu, which was sanctioned after a protracted struggle against the decision of state and central government to shift the same to Kashmir.

The Jammu Joint Students Federation, (JJSF), Peoples Revolutionary Movement,(PRM) Joint Action Committee of Students and Scholars (JACSS) are on the warpath against the appointment of an “outsider” as VC. The UPA led by a seasoned politician like Man Mohan Singh would do well to reconsider the panel.

The writer is a senior journalist

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