34 deaths in 18 days: Worry as COVID kills many in AMU faculty, V-C writes to ICMR


By Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  The deaths of at least 16 serving and 18 retired teachers, besides other staff of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), due to Covid-19 in the past 18 days have triggered an alarm, with the Vice-Chancellor on Sunday urging the ICMR to study the infection variant on the campus.

In a letter to the ICMR, Vice-Chancellor Tariq Mansoor said “a particular variant may be circulating in areas around the AMU campus and surrounding localities, which has led to these deaths”.

The latest to fall to the virus was the dean of the AMU’s law faculty, Prof Shakeel Samdani, who died at Aligarh’s Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College on Friday. 

Mansoor said the microbiology lab at the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College would send samples to the Institute of Genomic and Integrated Biology, New Delhi, for genome sequencing of the variants detected in the town.

Meanwhile, the medical college Principal Shahid Ali Siddiqui told media that 25 doctors at the hospital had tested positive for the infection in the past fortnight.

According to the V-C, three doctors were under treatment, while others had recovered.

Meanwhile, the college principal claimed the hospital was battling oxygen shortage and was dependent on its three plants.

The hospital has not received a single oxygen cylinder from outside in the past 12 days despite continuous efforts, he said. 

AMU V-C’s brother among faculty Covid fatalities

According to the V-C only three doctors are under treatment, while others have recovered. However, sources said at least 16 people, including faculty members, were currently under treatment in the Covid ward of Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College.

The first death of a professor of AMU was recorded on April 20 when the former proctor and dean student welfare professor Jamshed Ali Siddiqui passed away.

Earlier, Medical Department Chairman Professor Shadab Ahmed Khan (58) and Computer Department Professor Rafiqul Zaman Khan (55) also succumbed to Covid-19.

Umar Farooq, brother of Vice-Chancellor Mansoor also died of Covid-19. Farooq was a former member of the University Court and a member of the Mohammedan Educational Conference.

“The university is deeply concerned with the death of its faculty members, including retired teachers and other employees,” Omar Peerzada, Public Relations Officer of the university told TNIE.

However, Peerzada said that the list of deceased being circulated on social media includes the names of several faculty members were residing outside Aligarh.

“Non-Covid deaths are also included on this list. Our healthcare staff and frontline workers, along with the administration, are working day in and day out to combat the pandemic. These are challenging times for everyone but we will win,” Peerzada said.

According to the list being circulated on social media, 43 professors from AMU have succumbed to the infection in the last few days.

TNIE could not independently verify the list.

Meanwhile, Professor Feza Tabassum Azmi of the Department of Business Administration at AMU said, “We have lost a number of colleagues during the past few days. It is indeed distressing. Only God knows what has really happened but what we know is that not everyone died in the medical college. Some staff members died at home while some were not even in Aligarh. It would be wrong to put the blame on the medical college.”

“The team of doctors did a commendable job during the first wave, too. Perhaps the sheer number of cases in the second wave has been overwhelming. Our medical college is catering to not just the university but the entire Aligarh district,” she said.

43 dead, claim social media

The university PRO said a list of deceased being circulated on social media includes the names of faculty members residing outside Aligarh.

The list claims 43 AMU profs have succumbed

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