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Open versus reserved category: High Court stays counselling for admissions to PG Medical courses

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Srinagar, Apr 13: The J&K High Court has put on hold the counselling for admissions to the post-graduate courses in medical colleges in the state.
Hearing an appeal from the open merit candidates against an order passed in favour of the reserved-category candidates, a division bench of Justices Muhammad Yaqoob Mir and Ali Muhammad Magrey on Thursday directed the Jammu and Kashmir Board of Professional Entrance Examination (BOPEE) to halt the counselling till further directions.
Representative of the open merit candidates, Dr Sheena Shah told The Kashmir Monitor that the reserved-category candidates had objected to the BOPEE implementing an amended rule pertaining to J&K Reservation Act 2004.
“The un-amended rule was more advantageous to the category candidates. For instance, if a category candidate was ranked 100, which is good in the state, he or she was automatically moved to the open merit pool and offered a seat there,” she said.
“If that candidate was offered a seat in, let’s say, MD medicine and he wanted to opt for some other stream, the seat should have ideally gone to the next in the rank—the candidate at 101. But what used to happen was that this candidate (the one at rank 100) would block his seat (MD Medicine) for the next category candidate, even if that next (reserved category) candidate figured at, say, 700th position.”
This way, she said, the reserved-category candidates used to grab “the cream of disciplines”.
The government on January 30 amended Rules 15 (Distribution of seats) and 17 (Allotment of Disciplines) of the Act.
Accordingly, the distribution of seats between open merit and reserved categories was changed from 65:35 to 75:25.
In case of the allotment of seats, as per the amended rule, the disciplines would become available (to the category students) “after allotment of seat to the last open merit candidate as allocable under rules”.
However, the reserved category candidates filed a writ petition against the amended rule, demanding that it should not be applied onto the current admission process.
On March 26, Justice Tashi Rabstan of J&K High Court, Jammu, directed the BOPEE to conduct counselling of all the candidates who competed in the process of National Eligibility Entrance Test PG 2018 in accordance with un-amended Rule 17.
The reserved category candidates, represented by counsels Advocate Sunil Sethi and Advocate Veenu Gupta, had argued that since the process for NEET exams started in 2017, the amended rules should not have been applied to their batch.
Dr Shah, however, said that NEET test has nothing to do with counselling and allotment of seats as its only objective is to decide the eligibility.
“Besides, January 30 amendment of rules came almost a month before BOPEE started registration for the counselling on February 28,” she said.
“Category of seats is fine but you cannot have category for the disciplines and a candidate blocking the seat for another reserved category candidate,” she said.
Advocate Zaffar Shah, the counsel for the open merit candidates, told The Kashmir Monitor that under the un-amended rule merit was compromised.
“Candidates with lower merits would get better disciplines. The change that the government has brought is in the larger public interest as the disciplines will be distributed only and only as per the merit,” he said.


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Time for talks over, world must act now: PM

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New Delhi, Feb 18: The Pulwama attack which claimed the lives of 49 CRPF men shows that the time to hold talks on “terrorism” is over and there is an urgent need to unite against such elements, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday.

The Prime Minister, who was holding talks with Argentina President Mauricio Macri, said dithering to take action against militants and their supporters will be like encouraging militancy.

“Brutal attack in Pulwama proves that time for talks have passed. Now the entire world needs to unite against ‘terrorism’ and its supporters and take strong actions,” PM said.

 

President of Argentina Mauricio Macri said, “I would like to convey my condolences to the victims of the cruel attack (Pulwama) perpetrated just a few days ago. We condemn every kind of terrorist attack. I am truly pleased to be able to working together to fight this scourge on mankind.”

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Cross LoC trade, bus service suspended

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Srinagar, Feb 18: The cross-LoC trade between India and Pakistan via Poonch has been suspended in backdrop of the Pulwama suicide attack in which 49 CRPF personnel were killed last Thursday.
“Since the incident, no truck was allowed to cross the Line of control hence affecting the trade,” an official said.
He added that Poonch-Rawalakot cross-LoC bus service too has been suspended till further orders.
President, Cross LoC trade Union, Pawan Anand told The Kashmir Monitor that 60 trucks are stranded at trade centre (Chakan Da Bagh).
“We got orders to suspend the trade,” he said.
Pawan said that at least they have endured more than 4 crore of losses due to the trade suspension.
He added that most of the trucks are loaded with grapes, tomato, banana, tamarind and ser (zeera).
Besides Poonch, the cross-LoC trade also takes place through Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road in Uri.
However, DC Baramulla, Nasir Ahmad Naqash, confirmed that Uri has not received any order for trade suspension yet.

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MBS conferred Nishan-e-Pakistan: Saudi vows to ‘de-escalate’ India-Pakistan tension

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Islamabad, Feb 18: Saudi Arabia vowed to “de-escalate” rising tensions between Pakistan and India during a high-profile summit in Islamabad Monday as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman prepares to travel from Islamabad to New Delhi.
The kingdom’s foreign minister spoke at a press conference in Islamabad as Pakistan recalled its envoy from Delhi for “consultations”, the latest development in a fresh diplomatic crisis between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Delhi has vowed to retaliate after a suicide blast which killed over 40 Indian paramilitaries in Kashmir on Thursday, the deadliest attack in Kashmir in recent decade.
The attack has sparked widespread calls in India for action against Pakistan.
“Our objective is to try to de-escalate tensions between the two countries, neighboring countries, and to see if there is a path forward to resolving those differences peacefully,” said Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.
The pledge came as the crown prince, widely known as “MBS”, prepared to head for India later Monday, at the conclusion of his two-day visit to Pakistan.
India is garnering diplomatic support after the attack and has vowed to “isolate” Pakistan diplomatically in the international community, saying it has “incontrovertible evidence” of Islamabad’s role.
Pakistan has rejected the allegations.
Meanwhile, Pakistan President Arif Alvi on Monday conferred the country’s highest civil award — Nishan-e-Pakistan — on Saudi Crown Prince.
Mohammad bin Salman was honoured due to his “outstanding support for reinvigorating Pak-Saudi bilateral relationship”, Dawn reported.
Following the Pakistan president’s speech, the Saudi crown prince, as per Dawn, addressed the audience. “I was honoured to meet the president of Pakistan. I thank you for honouring me with Pakistan’s highest award.
“The brotherly relationship between the kingdom and Pakistan focus on the principle of Islamic solidarity. It is a model to be emulated by other nations. Our [countries’ relationship] go back 67 years that witnessed continuous development that rendered itself beneficial for both countries.
“The founding fathers for both countries established these relations on the principles of truthfulness, common understanding and mutual respect that go back to the first days of the establishment of Pakistan, post-World War 2.
“Our Pakistani brothers participated truthfully and effectively in the great development project that Saudi Arabia witnessed, especially the enlargement project of Masjid-e-Haram and Masjid-e-Nabwi. More than 2 million Pakistanis are working in Saudi Arabia and are contributing to the development of both the countries.
“I wish all the best to the president and the prime minister in the service of this country and its people.”
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the Saudi crown prince said his goodbyes to the Pakistan president and members of the federal cabinet before leaving for Nur Khan Airbase. As was the case when he had arrived, Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan personally drove the car carrying the Saudi crown prince.
On Sunday, MBS signed $20 billion in investment deals with cash-strapped Islamabad and vowed to free thousands of Pakistani prisoners in Saudi custody.

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