Cannot toy with SKIMS institutional integrity: NC

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Srinagar:  National Conference on Thursday lashed out at the PDP-BJP Government and Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed for trying to subvert the institutional autonomy of Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) and said any such step would be unacceptable and illegal. NC Spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu said the Government’s decision to appoint Health Minister Chaudhry Lal Singh as the Vice Chairman of the SKIMS Governing Board was an uninformed, malafide and dangerous move by the Chief Minister – a move that would have severe and adverse implications on the functioning of the premiere institute. 

 “This is a very unfortunate development. We know the Chief Minister is petrified by his Health Minister as we all remember how the Health Minister cancelled and reversed an order signed by the Chief Minister at G. B. Pant Hospital a few months back. We also know Mufti Sahab has pledged to surrender the integrity and dignity of his own office at the feet of BJP and its Minister but he should do that with his own political party. SKIMS is a premiere institute of excellence and there is no scope of superimposing a Minister in the Governing Board. This goes against the constitution of SKIMS and also against the founding philosophy behind the institute”, NC Spokesperson Junaid Mattu said in a statement issued from NC Headquarters in Srinagar. 

 The NC Spokesperson said former Chief Minister and NC Working President, Mr. Omar Abdullah had as the then Head of the Governing Board categorically denied to impose a Vice Chairman’s position in the Governing Board. “Mr. Omar Abdullah had clearly stated that the Vice Chairman’s position had no constitutional basis and he always emphasized on the need to maintain the institutional independence and autonomy of SKIMS. Mufti Sahab had tried his best to toy with SKIMS in his previous tenure as well – efforts that had disastrous consequences on the functioning of the Medical Institute. Now, Mufti Sahab is out to destroy another institute for the sheer sadistic pleasure of causing disruption in something that he resents having been contributed to the society by those he politically opposes. This is unbecoming and petty of a sitting Chief Minister”, NC Spokesperson Junaid Mattu further added.  

  “This is an effort to impose the Health Minister into an extra-constitutional position where he would use his post to influence purchases and procurement and also – as is his favourite hobby – insult and humiliate senior doctors. And this is happening under the directions of the Chief Minister, which is extremely unfortunate and shameful. If this can be done with SKIMS, one can only rue the fate of other institutions in the State. We condemn any such planned move and will oppose all efforts that harm SKIMS, its functioning and its autonomy”, the NC Spokesperson added. 

  “Another tragic irony is that highly questionable, self-proclaimed representatives of for-hire ‘associations’ who were vocal about political issues till yesterday have sold their souls to the PDP-BJP dispensation and are acting as proxies of BJP in defending every illegitimate and irreverent act of the Health Minister. No Doctors’ Association can possibly support a move to discredit an institute like SKIMS. We need to ostracize mischief mongers and professional defamation experts who have carved out a place for themselves in newspapers through professional blackmailing and slander. The doctors of this State stand in an overwhelming consensus against this illogical, ridiculous decision. A few cronies of the Health Minister who are apparently on the payrolls of the PDP-BJP dispensation and countless other intelligence agencies do not represent anyone but themselves, their ambitions and the letter-pad ‘associations’ they claim to head. No credible doctor who has given his blood and sweat to the cause of serving the people of this State can possibly support such a move”, the NC Spokesperson added in the statement.

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