Srinagar: Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Geelani has appointed his younger son Naseem Geelani as patron of Unique Educational Institute, Sopore.
The move has created a bad feeling among villagers and the school management in Geelani’s hometown, Dooru. The Unique Educational Institute is run under the management of a trust, the Falah-e-Millat Educational Society.
Naseem’s appointment, according to sources, prompted the chairman of the trust’s management body, GM Bhat, to quit. The trust comprises of members, parents, school staff representative, and educationists.
Before Naseem’s appointment, Geelani was the school’s “Sarparast-e-Aala (patron)” and would occasionally visit the institute, Bhat said.
“Since Geelani sahib is busy and under house detention, he chose his son Naseem as the patron. On paper, I am the trust chairman, but I discontinued from February 2017,” Bhat said. He cited personal reasons such as busy schedule at home and old age for stepping down from the post. He refused to comment on the rift created because of Naseem’s appointment. He did say, however, that the school belongs to a trust and is not a private property.
Before serving as the trust’s chairman for more than two years, Bhat had served as the school’s principal from 2008 till 2014.
Kashmir Reader has learnt that after Geelani appointed his son in his own place, Bhat rushed to the Hurriyat’s Hyderpora headquarters to meet the ailing veteran leader. But he did not receive a proper response, a source said.
“It was Geelani sahib’s personal decision to appoint Naseem as the patron. Naseem was only interested in the school (and not politics),” a source said.
The school, a well-known one in Sopore, was set up in 2006 and provides education from kindergarten to Class 12. Bhat said that the school was set up on more than 30 kanals of land offered by people as donation. “People donated in cash and kind for the school. Geelani sahib is from Dooru and he wanted to set up a school,” Bhat said.
Currently, Naseem is working at the Sher-e-Kashmir Agricultural University of Science and Technology. Naseem said that his father was the “Sarparast-e-Aala” of the school but as he could not participate in the school’s management due to his detention, he had asked him (Naseem) to look after the school affairs.
“The Falah-e-Millat Trust is a group of respected people. I have been asked to look after it. The decision was smooth and no, the chairman has no ill feeling about it,” Naseem told Kashmir Reader.
Nassem said the post is honorary but has certain powers. “The (Trust) Constitution entrusts powers to the patron. I am looking after academic affairs. We provide education material to students and also (facilitate) guest lecturers,” he said, adding that the trust is not personal property but belongs to society.