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Attacks against students: Kashmir colleges ready to accommodate those pursuing non-technical courses

Srinagar, Feb 28: The students who returned to Kashmir after the spate of attacks and harassment against the people of the valley in other states are now concerned for their immediate academic future.

The anti-Kashmir wave and incidents of harassment and violence against Kashmiris prompted by the February 14 Pulwama attack forced thousands of students to vacate their respective colleges and rented accommodations, and return home.

 

Even as the situation is relatively calmer now and the government of India has assured that Kashmiri students will not be harmed anywhere, the parents of these youth feel it is ‘too risky’ to send them back as they cannot put their wards in danger again.

Mohammad Arif Bhat, father of one of the female students studying in Uttaranchal PG College, said that her daughter is left with no option but to wait until “something comes from the J&K authorities”.“I tried to contact the college officials but as soon as they came to know I am a Kashmiri, they disconnected my call and since then are not responding,” said Bhat.

Srinagar resident Hashim Andrabi told The Kashmir Monitor that his son had a narrow escape from the goons in Dev Bhoomi College at Navgaon, Manduwala in Dehradun, where he was studying for his engineering degree.

“I will not allow my son to go back to that place. I cannot take that risk. We don’t have any guarantee for the safety of our children,” said Hashim, adding that his son had only two years left for completing his B.Tech in Civil Engineering.

“I would prefer him to take new admission in any course in Kashmir and study here,” he said.

The authorities in J&K say they can only accommodate the students who were pursuing non-technical courses in the colleges outside the state.

Director Colleges, Professor Zahoor Ahmad Chatt told The Kashmir Monitor that they can provide admission to the students who had to return due to the situation.

“Students who were pursuing non-technical courses in outside colleges can have admission in Jammu and Kashmir colleges,” said Chatt, adding that for technical courses like engineering, there is “no option available” with them.

Secretary Higher Education, Sarita Chauhan, however, claimed the governments of the respective states where the institutions are based have assured of providing safety to the Kashmiri students.

“Students are studying very safely and securely in colleges outside J&K and they should not pay heed to the rumours,” Sarita claimed.

She added that to make the students feel safe, the J&K Government has placed liaison officers for every state.

Kashmir-based educational consultancies too say they are in touch with the colleges and ensure that the latter will provide safety to the Kashmiri children and take their responsibility.

Ruhban Hussain, Director ‘Max Career Counselling Center’, said, “Colleges have ensured the safety of Kashmiri students. It is compulsory for every college that they take the responsibility of the students who are studying there.”

He said that the University Grants Commission (UGC) has also issued strict guidelines to ensure the safety of the students inside the varsities.

“Most of the students who are registered with the consultancies are willing to go back and stay in the university hostels,” Ruhban claimed.
Principal, Baba Farid Institute of Technology (BFIT), Dehradun, Dr Aslam Siddiqui – who on February 17 had said that no new Kashmiri students will be enrolled in his college from the next year – had a completely different stance now when asked about the future of the existing Kashmiri students.

“The students are told to report to the college on March 5 as everything here is normal, parents are requested not to worry for their children,” Dr Siddiqui told The Kashmir Monitor over the phone.

Asked about the safety of the students, he said the college has appointed security officers for the safety of the students inside the campus.
“Outside the campus, we will provide the students with the contacts of the police officer-in-charge of that place which they can contact if they find anything untoward. The students should return to their colleges. I assure everyone will be safe,” Siddiqui claimed.