SKIMS’ accused of favouring staffer’s kin in appointment; Rejected candidate approaches CM
Srinagar, Jan 20: Allegations of favouritism have come to fore over the recent appointment of lecturers at SK Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), with one of the dropped candidate writing to the Chief Minister about the “fishy” process. Dr Sheikh Ishfaq, the candidate who claims his name was dropped to accommodate Dr Mumtaz Gowhar for the post of lecturer in Biophysics, said he has a solid resume to back his claims. Gowhar is the wife of Principal SKIMS Bemina, Dr Reyaz Untoo, who also happens to be the member of the recruitment committee. A Ph D in Biophysics from AIIMS and post-doctorate from Ohio State University, the USA, Dr Ishfaq is currently working as Associate Professor at King Fahd Medical Research Centre, King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia. He, however, was considered “ineligible” for the post, as he had “no experience in India”. The SKIMS, interestingly, had re-advertised the post on April 1, 2017, saying that the candidates from psychology background could also apply for the post. This paved way for Dr Gowhar, who majorly comes from the psychology background, to apply for the post and, eventually, get selected for it. On the other hand, Dr Ishfaq, who had first applied for the post in 2015, was the only candidate with a Ph D in Biophysics. Yet, he claims, he was overlooked by the authorities. Miffed, Dr Ishfaq now awaits a reply from the J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, whom he has approached though her grievance cell. Dr Ishfaq told The Kashmir Monitor that he was “shocked” to not see his name on the list of ineligible candidates. “Does this mean that my Ph D from AIIMS, post-doctorate experience from the US, and more than 30 publications of international repute are below requisite standards for the post of a lecturer in Biophysics?” he said. “No way is this justifiable,” he added. Asked for his comments, Dr Untoo called Dr Ishfaq’s claims “baseless” and “misleading”. “Illegibility criteria and norms were made by MCI and we are only following that. No changes were made in the eligibility criteria while advertising,” said Dr Untoo. “If you go through the MCI guidelines, they state that any applying for a lecturer should have at least three years of post-Ph D experience as resident, registrar, demonstrator or tutor, which he does not have,” Dr Untoo said. Dr Untoo also revealed that Dr Ishfaq had applied just once in 2015, and the department has seen no new application in 2017 from his (Ishfaq’s) end. To this Ishfaq said, “I had even updated my credentials again in 2017. I even met Dr Untoo at that time.” “I demand justice. I don’t want any other qualified, experienced and a talented candidate to experience what I have. These illegal appointments and favouritism need to be stopped,” Ishfaq added.