Addressing student concerns
Kashmir is witnessing disturbed situation since the past three decades now. Since the situation is no better than it was in 1990 when it took a turn for the worse, most of the parents here preferred to send their wards to institutions spread across various states to seek education and other professional degrees.
This trend which started immediately after 1990 is growing with every passing day and thousands of students from Kashmir have enrolled themselves in various institutions to study or learn some professional skills.
At present round 20,000 students of the State are pursuing higher studies in various colleges in other states. This year around 3820 students got admission to various undergraduate courses. Since 2012, J&K students have also availed opportunities to obtain admission in outside state colleges to undergraduate course which were offered to them under the Prime Ministers Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS).
However, the students over the past few months now have been witnessing an aggressive posture taken by the students of other states against them. The incidents of carrying out attacks on Kashmiri students have been reported from northern state mainly Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. Though the situation has not turned that alarming but sanity has prevailed among the top officials in Aligarh Muslim University who dropped all charges against the students who were targeted for arranging funeral prayers in absentia for Hizbul commander Manan Wani.
But some students are still facing some harassment particularly in institutions that fall in the state of Punjab. Even a case that went out of hand happened in a University located in Greater Noida when a student from Srinagar, Ahtisham was beaten by some students after which Ahtisham has reportedly joined the militant ranks.
This situation had led to an alarm in the valley plus a growing concern among the parents of the students who were worried about their well being. Since, the situation can spiral into a major issue the state governments decision to designate Liaison Officers of J&K State Government in the cities of New Delhi, Noida/Meerut, Chandigarh, Aligarh, Bhopal, Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai and Jaipur to coordinate with students of the State pursuing higher education in other parts of the country, whenever they are faced with the situations or incidents related to their regional identity, is a welcome step.
The state government’s appointed officials positioned in these major cities will report directly to the Resident Commissioner, J&K at New Delhi and coordinate with him and the State Government regarding issues faced by students of the state.
Though the concept is a novel one, it needs to be executed meticulously so that the intent with which these officials are posted serves the real purpose. The government’s decision of opening these positions should give the students greater sense of safety and security.
Moreover, the access to the Liaison Officer in case of any apprehensions or trouble should be hassle free so that the students can approach them with ease. The smooth functioning of the liaison offices will also ease out the stressed parents back home and therefore the government should take due care to turn the entire exercise a success.