Srinagar: On March 13, the government relieved Dr Zahid Hussain Gilani of the charge of principal of Jammu’s Government Medical College and gave the charge to Dr Sunanda Raina, head of the college’s anatomy department. On the day she took over, she filed a complaint against her predecessor of “gross indiscipline, misconduct and disobedience.” She stated in her complaint that Dr Zahid was seated in the principal’s chamber along with two media persons when his relieving order was served on him, and that the furniture in the chamber had been ransacked and a revolver lay on Dr Zahid’s table. An inquiry was ordered into Dr Zahid’s alleged misconduct and he was suspended.
Dr Sunanda Raina now tells Kashmir Reader that she filed the complaint because the government asked her to. “I started working as the principal on March 15. But Dr Zahid occupied the principal’s chamber on March 16, and the government learnt about it. I was told by the government to file complaint against him for not allowing me to function from the office,” she said, adding, “Dr Zahid always addressed me as a younger sister. I was told by the government to file the complaint but I have nothing personal against him.”
Dr Zahid had been holding temporary charge of the principal’s post since 2015. The government order (747/HME/2015) through which Dr Zahid was assigned the charge directed him to hold the post till the vacancy was filled on regular basis. “But I am yet to learn the fault for which I was removed from the post,” Dr Zahid told Kashmir Reader.
A regular principal for the college has not been appointed for the past three years. Before Dr Zahid, the principal’s post was assigned to Dr Ghanshyam Dev, head of the radio-diagnosis faculty, on temporary basis. The JK government’s medical education rules direct for appointing the principal through a panel led by the chief secretary, authorised to scrutinise candidates for the principal’s post.
A senior faculty at GMC Jammu said that the government is “politicising” the institution instead of appointing its head. “Dr Zahid was performing well. He did good work in his one-and-a-half year term. He was removed for unknown reasons. If a permanent principal would have been appointed, we would have not had to face such uncertainty and controversy,” the doctor, requesting anonymity, said.
Dr Zahid said he himself wanted the government to replace him, but by setting up a committee which would have appointed the principal, instead of his un-ceremonial exit.
“The minister was not happy with me and I was removed,” said Dr Zahid, who has now been placed under suspension and attached with the administrative department of health and medical education.
“Dr Sunanda is my sister and was my junior at medical college. I was not in the principal’s room at the time that the complaint mentions. If the allegations are found to be true, I will not only resign from my 29 years of service, but will leave India,” Dr Zahid told Kashmir Reader.
According to him, 32 CCTV’s are installed in the hospital, including in the principal’s chamber. He said the CCTV footage is evidence of the falsity of the allegations. “They are creating a drama by levelling false allegations against me. They had nothing against me so they are resorting to such false allegations,” said the 60-year-old doctor.
Many doctors whom this newspaper contacted vouched for Dr Zahid’s integrity and good work done during his term. A senior doctor at GMC Jammu said that Dr Zahid extended the library and increased by 100 beds the emergency ward.
“He is the head of the pharmacology department and has to his credit more than 100 research publications, along with teaching experience,” said one of his former students at the department.
Dr Zahid said that he had been doing his duties even in the face of personal difficulties. “My son is bedridden since eight years. I could only give a few hours in a day to him. I was busy improving the facilities at the hospital. If doing the work of ten years in one year is a sin, let me offer apologies. I have been defamed for no fault of mine. It is unfortunate they made such a case against me,” he said.
Minister of state for health and medical education Asiya Naqash said a new principal will be appointed shortly.