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Flawed teaching! Kashmir’s psychologists carry degrees but counseling not their cup of tea

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar, Oct 9: In absence of a practical-based approach, the educational institutes in Kashmir produce psychologists who are unfit to counsel the region’s rising population of mental-health cases.

According to a study by the Government Medical College Srinagar, nearly 11 per cent of Kashmir’s population suffer mental-health disorders, which is more than the national average in India.

Every year, around 62 students pass Kashmir University (KU) and hundreds more the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) with Masters in psychology.

 

Yet the valley is short of psychologists, as the degree holders find themselves incompetent in a clinical setup.

Ashfaq Qureshi, a counselor at Centre for Mental Health Services (CMHS), said, “I did my masters from KU, but before joining the training programme, I was completely blank. I knew the theoretical part, but couldn’t deliver it in the field.”

“Our institutions lack training in trauma-focused counselling. There is no teaching of skills of working with children and the emotionally overwhelming nature of the work. Sadly so, neither the curriculum for psychiatrists, psychologists or counsellors, doesn’t include training of self-care, which is critical to continuing work with trauma clients.”

Another counselor at CMHS, Tabinda Tariq, said, “I did my postgraduation from IGNOU. Whatever I learnt, it is because of the training programme. Few lectures on Sundays and very less practical work is what the course offered, and I am afraid it wasn’t much helpful.”

Joziya Khan, who is pursuing her M Phil in child and adolescence from Amity University, said, “Mental illness in the Valley remains neglected and invisible, associated with shame and stigma. Millions suffer in silence without access to basic medicines and health care.”

Khan said that the lack of training to manage common psychiatric conditions in the institutions is a major lacuna in curriculum. “It has spawned many short courses, which transfer knowledge, rather than skill and confidence, to physicians.”

Ishrat, who works as counselor at District hospital Shopain said, “The emphasis on theoretical part has resulted in a transmission of knowledge without proficiency and confidence during basic medical training. “

She said, “It results in a lack of acquisition of skills required for independent practice.”

Doctor Muzzfar, who is Consultant at Help Foundation and Director of Police Drug De-Addiction Centre, said, “Medical education needs to be skill-based to produce competent practitioners. The strengthening of the general health infrastructure, to improve primary health care delivery, is mandatory for the effective integration of mental health into primary care practice is the need of the hour.”

He said, “Educating the population about mental illness using the mass media will erase stigma and increase the demand for services.”

Nighat Shafi, Chairperson Help Foundation, echoed similar views, saying, “The students who attend our training sessions always complain they have only been taught the theoretical part. Practical training should be worked upon, so that we have better counselors to deal with the mental health problems.”


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As long as BJP exists, Kashmir will be ours: Amit Shah

Press Trust of India

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Tasgaon (Maha), Apr 17: Kashmir is an integral part of India and it would continue to remain so as long as the BJP exists, party president Amit Shah said here Wednesday.

Shah’s remarks came at a poll rally, in response to National Conference leader Omar Abdullah’s recent suggestion of having a separate prime minister for Kashmir.

“No one can take away Kashmir from us. As long as the BJP exists, Kashmir will continue to be an integral part of India,” Shah told the rally in western Maharashtra.

 

“We will never allow two prime ministers in India,” Shah said. The Congress wants to separate Kashmir from India, he added.

Abdullah’s comment that Jammu and Kashmir bargained for a separate Prime Minister and President and hopefully they would have it, has also drawn a strong response from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who demanded during a series of poll rallies that the Congress explain its ally’s comment.

“India is the land of Shivaji Maharaj and its security is responsibility of us all,” Shah said.

Referring to cross-border militancy emanating from Pakistan, Shah said,” If there is a goli (bullet) from there, India will send a gola (bomb) from here.”

Militants infiltrating in India will be searched and killed, he said.

“Prime Minister Narednra Modi worked to make the country safe. Through Balakot air strike, we avenged the deaths of our soldiers,” he said.

“The chant of ‘Phir ek baar Modi sarkar’ is heard from all corners of the country now,” the BJP chief said.

Shah also targeted the Congress-NCP combine which was in power in Maharashtra for 15 consecutive years till 2014, when the BJP wrested power from it.

“The Congress relegated Maharashtra on development front, while the BJP brought back the state on the path of development,” he said.

Five generations of Congress ruled the country but did nothing for India, he said.

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‘One vote’ made surgical, air strikes possible: Modi

Press Trust of India

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Bhatapara, Apr 17: Amid claims of “misusing” the armed forces for electoral gain, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the strength of “one vote” had enabled the surgical strike and air strike in Pakistan.

Addressing a poll rally here in Chhattisgarh, Modi said the India of today carries out surgical and air strikes across the border and shoots down satellite in space due to the strength of “one vote” of the people.

The Election Commission of India (EC) last week sought a report from poll officials in Maharashtra after Modi’s remarks at a rally in Latur, where he asked first-time voters to dedicate their vote to those who carried out the Balakot air strike.

 

The report was sought in the context of an EC advisory issued last month asking parties to desist from indulging in political propaganda involving actions of the armed forces.

Modi also stepped up attack on Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, saying it was the mindset of the “sultanate” of the “Naamdar” to abuse the deprived and treat them as slaves.

Modi’s barb came a day after Gandhi made the “how come all Modis are thieves” remark.

Modi attributed Gandhi’s comment to frustration among the Congress and its “Mahamilvati” allies caused by the “BJP wave” being witnessed across the country.

“These people are crossing limits daily. According to them, anyone whose name is Modi is a thief. What kind of politics is this? They have labelled a whole community as thieves only to get some applause, just to insult your ‘chowkidar’,” Modi said.

“I have a question. Why all the thieves have Modi in their names whether be it Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi and Narendra Modi? We don’t know how many more such Modis will come out,” Gandhi had said, addressing a rally in Maharashtra on Monday.

“The Congress and its Mahamilavati allies are unable to sleep during night. Now they are abusing me in frustration, are insulting me. The voters of India are seeing this,” Modi said.

“It is naamdar’s sultanate mindset which sneers at the exploited, deprived and treats them as slaves,” he said.

The Congress labelled honest tax-payers as selfish, Modi said. The naamdars are faced with cases of income tax theft of crores of rupees, he added.

“They are having fun after committing scam following land allotment to bring out a newspaper…they are out on bail,” Modi said, without naming the National Herald case.

“They seek commission in deals relating to national security,” Modi said, in a veiled reference to the Bofors scam, in which late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s name was dragged by the opposition.

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FIR lodged against army for thrashing SDM

Global News Service

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Srinagar, Apr 17: Police on Wednesday filed an FIR against army for allegedly thrashing Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) and other government officials in Qazigund area of south Kashmir yesterday.

Confirming it, a senior police officer said that the case under FIR number 61 /2019 under section 323, 341 RPC has been registered in police station Qazigund in connection with the incident which took place at Dalwach Crossing on Srinagar-Jammu highway on Tuesday afternoon.

The filing of FIR follows an application by the SDM Dooru who provided all the facts regarding the incident. In his application, the SDM Dooru has stated that he was “dragged by the collar, kicked and abused” by Army personnel as he tried to save his driver from their assault on the Srinagar-Jammu highway.

 

The army personnel removed safety locks of their weapons and aimed guns at us, threatening to kill us and it was only after the Deputy Commissioner Anantnag reached the spot that “we were set free,” SDM Dooru wrote in a letter to Station House Officer Qazigund.

“It is requested that FIR be lodged against the security personnel under the relevant provisions of law for manhandling, intimidating and resorting to violence against the undersigned and my officials and obstructing us from performing our official duties including that of election duties,” he said.

“Today on 16th April  2019 as per the directions of worthy deputy commissioner Anantnag to reach Vessu Qazigund for resolving matter of traffic/truck congestion on national highway at 10:40 AM I along with my team of officials were coming from Dooru via Ujroo Crossing in a government vehicle (JK0-3G3850 ),” the official said.

He said the army personnel deployed on the “national highway had stopped all the civilian traffic” despite Tuesday having been declared a restricted day for army convoys in a recent government order. “After introducing myself to the army personnel at Ujroo we were allowed to move towards Vessu but at Dalwach Crossing near under construction bridge, we were again stopped by some army personnel and asked not to proceed forward unless the Army convoy passes/ends. Accordingly, my driver stopped the vehicle and we were on halt,” he said.

Despite this, the SDM said, one of the army personnel Viney Kumar beat his driver ruthlessly besides damaging the government vehicle.

The SDM said he tried to intervene, pleading “that I am Sub Divisional Magistrate Dooru and I have been called by District Magistrate who is waiting for me at Vessu to identify parking spaces for halted trucks in order to make the National Highway free from obstructions so that both the security  and civilian vehicles have a hustle  free travel.”

He said he told the Army personnel that he also had to visit some polling stations in the area on “my way back and also the Storage  Room to be created at Govt. Degree College Dooru for the storage of EVMs.”

“Also I was supposed to visit the cafeteria at Verinag to inspect the Training Sessions of the Presiding Officers of Dooru Constituency.”

However, the SDM alleged, that the army men grabbed him by the “collar, abused and dragged (me)upto about 20 meters” and thrashed him at gunpoint.

“My cell phone and driver’s cell phone were snatched and broken into pieces Further, the said Army  man with other two army men got my other employees down from the vehicle and thrashed them ruthlessly and their cell phones were also snatched and damaged.”

He said, “all of us were taken hostage on gunpoint for about half an hour and our vehicle and other belongings were searched, snatched and damaged and all the data about the election was deleted.”

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