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KM IMPACT: Tribal leaders speak up against ‘money minting’ BGSB University

Srinagar: Days after The Kashmir Monitor reported how enrollment in Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University (BGSBU) in Rajouri has drastically declined due to its unaffordable fee structure, several Gujjars and Bakerwals Sunday raised the issue alleging that the vastity has “turned into an income-generating organisation”.

In a programme organised by Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation, the speakers said that the University was “indirectly ignoring tribal Gujjars and Bakerwal students.”

“Resultantly, being members of the weaker section, they (students) are either left their studies or opt-out for other Universities of India as they unable to pay huge fees,” they said.

Earlier this week, The Kashmir Monitor had reported how the University had increased the tuition fee for BTech course from Rs 40,000 in 2012 to Rs 1.04 lakh in 2020 and how the annual hostel fee too had been hiked to Rs 44,000.

The speakers expressed dismay over the attitude of Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University authorities who, they said, are not ready to listen to the grievances of locals.

The speakers, according to a statement, said that BGSBU was “mainly built on grazing land used by the tribal, local population of adjoining areas to rear cattle, sheep and goats to run their livelihood,  with a promise that the University will emerge as a premier institution in the area to eradicate illiteracy”.

“But the University over  the period of 10 years of its existence has not only ignored locals in jobs and admissions but it also overlooked local languages, culture, ethnicity, which is quite surprising,” the statement read.

“The speakers alleged that more than 80 to 85% of the teaching staff and the students does not belong to Poonch, Rajouri area and demanded immediate filling of advertised posts and end adhoc-ism,” it added.  

They alleged that the Centre for Gojri and other languages was established in 2015 but till date not a single activity of the centre was seen on the ground which reflects the level of ignorance about local aspirations.

In his address noted tribal researcher, Dr Javaid Rahi hoped that new Vice-Chancellor Prof. Akbar Masood will come forward and address these core issues related to local and tribal aspirations.

He said that the new BGSBU VC “is very positive in his actions” and hoped that he will open up the channels with locals, tribal groups to address their genuine issues.

Those who spoke include Advocate Zulkarnain, Advocate Shabir, Ishtiaq Ahmed, Misbah, M A Chowdhary and other students and scholars.