SKIMS Principal appoints wife ignoring merit, meritorious candidate

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SRINAGAR: Dr. Mumtaz Gowhar, wife of SKIMS Principal, Dr. Reyaz Untoo, who is also member of the recruitment committee, was appointed for the post of lecturer in Physiology as well as in Biophysics, as reported by outlookindia.com, a delhi based news organisation.

The news report said that a post doctorate candidate from Ohio Medical University has written to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti complaining that authorities at Sher-i-Kashmir Institute Medical Sciences (SKIMS) have preferred under qualified candidate over him for the post of lecturer in Biophysics.

The candidate appointed by the SKIMS happens to be the wife of the Principal of the Institute, it said.

The SKIMS on January 11 released an appointment order of lecturers including Dr. Mumtaz Gowhar, who appears at serial number 4 and 5 in the selection list has been appointed for the post of lecturer in Physiology as well as in Biophysics. Gowhar is wife of SKIMS Principal, Dr. Reyaz Untoo, who is also member of the recruitment committee.

Soon after SKIMS released the list of shortlisted candidates in October 2017, Dr. Sheikh Ishfaq, who is currently working as Associate Professor at King Fahd Medical Research Centre, King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia, on October 18, 2017 wrote to Chief Minister for redress of injustice for faculty recruitment in Biophysics at SKIMS Medical College, Bemina, Srinagar.

Dr. Ishfaq, who has done Ph.D. in Biophysics from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi and post-doctorate from Ohio University, USA, had applied for the post of lecturer Biophysics in 2015. However, the SKIMS authorities didn’t conduct the interview for the post.

The SKIMS re-advertised the post in April 1, 2017, with a major change that for the Biophysics position, candidates with physiology background can also apply.

Ishfaq says the change was done to bring Principal’s wife, who has physiology background, at par with the Biophysics candidates.

“I am writing this letter with deep anguish that I was the only candidate with a PhD degree in Biophysics who applied for this particular position. In 2017, this position was advertised again with a major incomprehensible change that for the Biophysics position candidates with physiology background can also apply. This in addition to the fact that separate vacancies were advertised in the same notice for Physiology positions,” he told outlook.

“I am shocked to see my name disqualified for interview and in the list of ineligible candidates. The reason for my disqualification mentioned on the SKIMS website states that I don’t have experience in India while I have done Ph.D. from AIIMS, New Delhi,” he told.

Ishfaq says the list of eligible candidates looks suspicious. “I have been unjustly disqualified for the interview. I am shocked and appalled beyond words and I miserably fail to understand the logic for my ineligibility,” he said.

Ishfaq says he has published more than 30 research papers in highly prestigious international journals. “In view of my PhD degree and post-PhD experience from world renowned institutes in India and United States, I am deeply pained that in this age and time, these arbitrary changes and injustices rendered to deserving candidates like me are being done in J&K,” he said.