‘Educationists’ Known for Commercializing Education, Involved
SRINAGAR, May 3: Muslim Education Trust (MET), especially its high school at Baghat, Srinagar, is looming under the threat of an imminent hijack by a group of prominent educationists who are known for commercializing education in Kashmir valley.
According to various sources, official documents, and communications, Mr. Mubashir Aslam Wafai, a resident of Humhama Srinagar and a co-owner of various private schools including the posh Foundation World School and Orbit Girls School Srinagar is appearing as a lead role behind the hijack of MET School at Baghat.
According to an FIR No.88/2022, registered in police station Budgam under section 420, on 22-02-2022, Mubashir Aslam Wafai shifted his co-owned school, Orbit Girls School from Rajbagh to the building of MET High School Baghat which is operated and owned by the Muslim Education Trust (Sopore), of which Mr. Wafai remains one of the four trustees. Mr. Wafai is also the chairman of the managing committee of MET High School Bhagaat.
The FIR states that Mr. Mubashir pulled off the illegal shifting in league with three other persons who were stakeholders in both Orbit Girls School and MET Baghat as trustees. These persons are identified as Mr. Khursheed Ahmad Mahajan, Mr. Naseer Ahmad Shah, and Mr. Siraj Ud Din Bhat—all residents of Srinagar.
Suhail Dar, a resident of Baghat Srinagar and a person very well familiar with the matter says, “The illegal shifting of Orbit Girls School from Peerbagh Bagh to MET school Baghaat Barzulla was done under the motive to grab 40 kanals of custodian land of MET school and use the buildings and assets belonging to Trust for their co-owned school and therefore, mint money without any recurring expense.”
A field report submitted by the Zonal Education Officer Batmaloo on 22/02/2022 also reads that the “Orbit girls’ school has been shifted to MET school Baghat without any permission.”
Though the merger of the two schools was stopped by authorities last year, the current Trustees, which include Mubashir Aslam Wafai, have devised yet another scheme to hijack the trust and its assets.
In an interview with a local newspaper, Mr. Mohammad Rafi, Former Director of School Education, and the current chairman of MET trust said that “an ambitious Transformation Plan is in place with professional support from Thinksite Services Pvt Ltd (TSPL), a premier educational consultancy in the town. An anchor always on the right side has been their Head, Mr. Shabir A. Handoo.”
Though it might seem harmless to outsource the trust schools to a private company, the one-year-old company in question here, Thinksite Services Private Limited, has no history of educational excellence, and its head, Shabir A. Handoo is a business partner of Mubashir Aslam Wafai, a man against whom FIR stands registered under section 420 of IPC for trying to hijack the MET school at Baghat last year. Further, one of the trustees at MET Trust, Mehmood-Ur-Rashid, is also one of the owners/directors of Thinksite Services Private Limited.
Pertinently, when Ghulam Hassan Bacha, the last surviving trustee and chairman of MET died on 10 December 2021, four people: Mohammad Rafi, Irshad Ahmad Shah, Mubashir Aslam Wafai, and Mehmood-Ur-Rashid took over the trust. These four people are currently running the whole show at MET, an organization that has assets worth thousands of crores.
Since the MET is a charitable trust, this means that the trustees cannot expect monetary rewards. However, if the trust is outsourced to a private company, the owners of the company can legally involve in a profitable activity using the trust resources in exchange for quality services. This is exactly how the hijack plan of MET has been devised because this gives the involved personnel the legitimacy to use the trust resources and infrastructure to mint money.
One of the major fears that the alumni and the parents of students studying in MET school is that the trustees are trying to create extreme commercialization of the trust, which will result in the banishment of poor children from MET institutions and turn, jeopardize their lives and education.
When Kashmir Despatch reached Mr. Mubashir Aslam Wafai for comments, he maintained that he has resigned from Muslim Education Trust in March 2022 and that Dr. Irshad Ahmad Wani, a resident of Baghat Barzulla has taken over the position.
However, Mr. Mubashir Aslam Wafai continues to remain as one of the two authorized signatories on the JK bank account number 0278040100001015 belonging to the trust, which certifies his involvement with the Trust. He has co-signed checks between numbers 441940 to 55 as recently as last month.
While confirming to the Kashmir Despatch, Mr. Mohammad Rafi, the current chairman of the trust also said that “there is no denying in the fact that Mr. Wafai continues to be one of the five trustees in Muslim Education Trust.”