Hindutva Groups of MP indulge in discrimination against Kashmiri students

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Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh government has found itself embroiled in a controversy after being accused of trying to keep Kashmiri students out of higher educational institutions in the state.
A report in “The Hindu” newspaper said that the most vocal of these accusations have come from Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah who expressed concern over discrimination against Kashmiri students in Madhya Pradesh after the State government notified changes in the guidelines of admission to higher education institutes in the state.
Abdullah expressed disappointment over the issue by stating on the social networking site Twitter, “Disgraceful: Hindutva groups campaign to keep Kashmiri students out of M.P.”
The latest “admission guidelines/guiding principles for admissions” notified by the state’s Higher Education Department make Kashmiri students ineligible for admission to the state’s public as well as private higher education institutions.
While under the older guidelines, “Kashmiri displaced/students” were eligible for admission, the new guidelines omit the term ‘students’ leaving only “Kashmiri displaced”— implying Kashmiri Pandits —eligible for admission.
The change has reportedly come about after demands from the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
“Look, out of 400 post-graduate students at Bhopal’s Barkatullah University, 175 are from the Kashmir valley. The benefits entitled to Kashmiri displaced are being received by students from the valley,” ABVP general secretary B.D. Sharma told The Hindu.
“These students get mass admissions based on fake documents through the admission mafia and do all kinds of weird activities in the campus creating an atmosphere of insecurity among other students. They have even built a mosque inside the campus premises. This situation is true of almost all universities of Madhya Pradesh,” Sharma said.
“It is not our demand, but that of troubled students from all over Madhya Pradesh,” he added.
The Jammu and Kashmir government has reportedly asked for a detailed report of the matter from its police chief.
Following Abdullah’s tweet, the State Culture and Higher Education Minister Laxmikant Sharma in a statement condemning Abdullah’s remarks.
“There is no question of discrimination against any student of Jammu & Kashmir or any other State, for that matter. Admissions in Madhya Pradesh colleges are conducted as per rules,” Sharma has stated.
Sharma termed Abdullah’s remarks “unnecessary and uncalled for” and said that Madhya Pradesh government had granted special concessions in the admission rules to the wards of people displaced from Kashmir.
The government statement, however, was silent on why the word “student” was removed retaining only the expression “Kashmiri displaced.”
“This is not a new development.The ABVP has been running this campaign for the last one year. Jammu and Kashmir is a conflict-ridden State and education has suffered because of that. Now if students from the State come to study in other States, should they be encouraged or victimised?” asked Ibrahim Quereshi, former Chairman of the State Minority Commission.
Recently, two Kashmiri students of Bhopal’s Barkatullah University emailed Omar Abdullah about alleged discrimination against them in the university hostels.
However, the state government has clarified that the matter had been enquired into and no discrimination was found.

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