Several academics, civil society activists and students have sought the intervention of President Pranab Mukherjee in reversing Jamia Millia Islamia’s decision to accept eminent historian Mushirul Hasan’s voluntary resignation as professor in the History Department.

A petition has been sent to the President in his capacity as Visitor of Jamia Millia, a Central University.

According to the petition, Professor Hasan, who was the Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia between 2004 and 2009, put in his papers because of “nefariously calibrated exercises” by sections of the university and outside, aimed at damaging his credentials. He was scheduled to retire in August 2014. Listing his achievements as an academic and Director-General of National Archives, the signatories to the petition said: “It is, moreover, tragic that the entire saga is being seemingly orchestrated by a handful of functionaries to cater to the whims of the section of the present university administration. They have sought explanations premised on politically-driven considerations. There is surely more to it than what meets the eye in this motivated campaign.”

Professor Hasan told The Hindu that history was repeating itself. Though he did not name anyone specifically, the historian hinted that several of the same obscurantist forces who hounded him out of the university as Pro Vice-Chancellor in 1992, over his objection to the ban on Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, were again at play.

“When I completed my term as Vice-Chancellor in 2009, there was another vilification campaign,” he said adding that he would rejoin the university if it withdrew the decision to accept his resignation.

“I would like to leave on my terms,” he asserted, pointing out that he had told the officiating Vice-Chancellor that he would like to quit on November 14 after completing the course that he was conducting. “But, it was accepted within hours.”

As for the nature of harassment, Professor Hasan said he was not given a room when he took up professorship, his name was removed from the Jamia website, none of his 25 books were prescribed in the university syllabus and many of the individuals he had brought in as Vice-Chancellor were forced to leave.

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