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Brain drain! Staring at bleak future, highly educated youth consider leaving valley

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar:  Thirty one year old Umar (name changed) was on top of the world when he completed PhD in English from the University of Kashmir.  With three years of untiring efforts and compact research work, Umar was hoping to land a job in the academics.

Luck however had other things in store for Umar. A complete communication blockade and a series of restrictions since August 5 have frustrated Umar to the extent that he has decided to look for job outside Jammu and Kashmir to earn his living.

“A feeling of frustration and purposelessness continuously haunts me. Did I finish my PhD thesis only to sit at home and brood over it?” he asked.

 

Staring at bleak future, Umar has applied for a job in Pune and Qatar. He visits his neighbour’s place every day to make a call from their land-line to check for any response to his job application.

“The struggle to find any means of earning livelihood continues. Besides, what are my chances of employment at 31? I am not getting any younger,” he rued.

Umar is not an isolated case. Imran (name changed) worked as a private school to fulfill his dream of getting a degree from Amity University, Lucknow. The 28 year old recently finished his M Phil in child psychology. But he now seems clueless about his future prospects.

“I am from an underprivileged family. I used to work as a teacher in a private school. Two years back, I decided to quit the job and went to study further. This was purely done to get myself a better job and help my family to overcome financial strains. Look what has happened now. There seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel,” Imran said with a voice heavy with emotions.

With uncertainty looming large, Imran has also made up his mind to leave his home for better career options. He has applied for job in the middle-east and plans to take his family along.

“This decision will again cost me financially but I am all up for it. Financial losses can be recovered, but the loss of mental health which is already deteriorating with each passing day cannot be regained,” he asserted.

A noted educationist warned that this crisis will leave a long term and lasting impact on the students and youth.  “The loss of classes will mean that they will miss out on crucial conceptual clarity and always play catch up. On the other hand, it will lead to a brain drain as bright young people will look to work elsewhere where there is less uncertainty,” he said.


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Pak rejects India’s request to allow Modi’s flight through its airspace

Agencies

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Pakistan on Wednesday rejected India’s request to allow over its air space Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flight to the United States later this week.

“We have conveyed to the Indian High Commission that we will not allow use of our air space for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flight,” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said.

He added that the decision has been taken in the wake of “India’s atrocities and human rights violations in Kashmir”.

 

Earlier in the day, India had made a formal request to Pakistan for the usage of its airspace for Modi’s flight.

Modi is due to depart for the US to participate in the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

Previously, Islamabad had denied overflight clearance to President Ram Nath Kovind’s flight to Iceland earlier this month.

Even though Pakistan has been threatening to completely close its airspace to India since the abrogation of Article 370, no official notification has been issued so far in this regard.

Following India’s decision, Islamabad has unilaterally downgraded its diplomatic relations with India and partially closed its airspace.

However, the Prime Minister had used the Pakistani airspace to travel to France for a bilateral meet last month.

Pakistan had also partially shut off its airspace for Indian flights after New Delhi abrogated Article 370 that accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

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India-Pak dialogue ‘absolute essential element’ for resolving Kashmir issue: UN chief

Press Trust of India

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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres asserted that “dialogue” between India and Pakistan is an “absolute essential element” for resolving the Kashmir issue.

“Our capacity is related to good offices and good offices can only be implemented when the parties accept it. On the other hand, it relates to advocacy. The advocacy was expressed and will be maintained,” Guterres told a press conference at the UN headquarters.

The UN chief was asked about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and what will he do to bring a solution to the Kashmir issue.

 

“I go on with a clear opinion that human rights must be fully respected in the territory and I go on with the clear opinion that dialogue between India and Pakistan is an absolute essential element for the solution of the problem,” he said.

India has always maintained that the Kashmir issue is an internal matter and there is no need for a third-party mediation, including either from the UN or the US.

The UN Secretary General has also repeatedly asserted that his good offices are available only if both India and Pakistan ask for it.

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Circle of life

Monitor News Bureau

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By Zafar Meraj

There is an old Kashmiri maxim “Anem suie, wawum suie, lajem suie pansie”. The broad translation of this maxim can be that whosever sows the seeds of the nettle is bound to be bitten by it himself.

And this maxim today fits the detention of Farooq Abdullah, the three time chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, a former union minister, seven-time member of India’s lower house, Lok Sabha, under the provisions of the dreaded Public Safety Act. With this Act of the state establishment, Farooq Abdullah, one of the most vocal votaries of India in Kashmir, has been placed under the category of timber smugglers and drug peddlers, for which the dreaded provisions were supposed to be enacted with later expansion of these to separatists and hardened stone pelters and ‘anti-national’ elements.

Never in his dreams would have Farooq Abdullah ever imagined that he would fall victim of the same which his father had imposed to deal with his political opponents and which he and later his son (mis) used with impunity to silence the voice of dissent in a brazen attempt to please their political masters.

It was in 1978, when Sheikh Abdullah was riding a wave of his popularity post 1977 assembly elections, he introduced a bill titled Public Safety Act that provides for the detention of a person for a term of two years without being produced before a court of law.

The law was strongly opposed by the minuscule opposition in the then state assembly that termed it undemocratic and highhanded that exposed the dictatorial tendencies of the Sheikh. The Sheikh who was adamant to enact the law at the earliest defended it on the ground that it was aimed at to curb the growing activities of timber smugglers and drug peddlers.

He dismissed the criticism of the opposition and the fears that it would be used to curb the voices of dissent and silence the opposition.

It was a time when Janata government had come to power in New Delhi and the atrocities and undemocratic measures adopted by Indira Gandhi to silence her political adversaries were still fresh in the minds of the people at large.

Immediately on assuming the power, Morarji Desai led Janata government had abrogated all the laws that were against the liberty of the people and freedom of speech and expression. Laws that were used to detain Indira Gandhi’s critics without any valid ground were removed from the statute book. I still remember the speech of the then union Home Minister Chaudhry Charan Singh in the Lok Sabha pleading with the Sheikh to soften the harsh provisions of law lest it could be misused. “Mairi Sheikh sahib say binty hay ki woh is qanoon kay zehreelay daant nikaal dain (I request Sheikh sahib to remove the poisonous teeth of this law).

But in Kashmir the Sheikh was not moved at all by the pro-democracy and pro-liberty approach of New Delhi and went ahead with enactment of Public Safety Act, which soon confirmed the fears of opposition that this would be used against critics of the state government.

And soon the fears of the opposition turned to be true when the provisions of this law were invoked against Ghulam Nabi Untu, not a timber smuggler or drug peddler but a political activist. The only fault of Ghulam Nabi was that during 1977 elections, he had dared to oppose Sheikh’s National Conference and came out to support late Mohiudin Qarra, who then fought election from Amirakadal constituency on Janata Party ticket. As far as timber smugglers were concerned, they continued with their activities only changing their patrons from erstwhile Congress to the ruling National Conference.

The other notable victim of the Safety Act was Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami, then a young Communist, in mid-seventies, who was lodged in Srinagar central jail for a long time for the fault of raising his voice against the undemocratic and anti-people policies of the National Conference.

Both Farooq and son Omar in their regimes continued to use this law against political opponents as their predecessor had done and whosoever posed a threat to their government or was vocal in his opposition was slapped with the provisions of this law. Never did Farooq or for that matter would have thought that a day would come when they too would fall victims to this black law.

And today when Farooq has been forced to languish into his house, turned into sub jail and Omar subjected to solitary confinement in the infamous Hari Niwas, one wonders what their thoughts would be and will the treatment they have been subjected to bring some change in their thinking?

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