In Indian Occupied (IOK) Kashmir University Students Want Exams Postponed
Voice concern over security, incomplete syllabus due to current unrest in the Valley
By Dilnaz Boga for Opinion Maker
“Provide security to us from our homes to the University and on the way back. And give this to us in writing,” said a student from Kashmir University, after the authorities announced examination dates despite the fact that a major portion of syllabus has not been completed during the period of civil unrest in wake of the 65 civilian killings, since June 11 this year.
Students from the University who hail from different parts of the Valley have security concerns too. “Yesterday, there was no strike and everything was open in the city, but students from south Kashmir and Kupwara were not able to attend class as there was curfew in their area. How do they expect us to risk our lives and appear for exams when students are being gunned down on the streets of Kashmir?” asked a post-graduate student.
Further, the students say that only 60% of the syllabus has been completed by the University in some departments “The authorities are saying that even if one student appears, the exam will go on. They want to give the outside world a feeling of normalcy, when that is not the case. Those who will not be able to make it for the exam, will flunk,” lamented a student on condition of anonymity.
But PRO Kashmir University Showkat Shafi said that those who will not be able to appear for exams should not be worried, “We will take their exams a month, or a month-and-a-half later when things get back to normal. Currently, the exams will be held from mid-September through October.”
Professor of Law Sheikh Showkat says, “In these circumstances, it is hard to even cross the road, I’m not sure how students will manage to come to the University. Only the administration will be able to tell you how. Even the staff attendance is low because of stone-pelting and the curfew.”
With over 50 departments, Kashmir University has students attending class from all parts of the Valley; the University is one of the biggest learning centres. With 900 resident students, and other students who live in Srinagar, the University will conduct final and semester exams in the second week of September.
Voicing his concerns, a student complains, “Our brothers, fathers, cousins, friends have been arrested, injured and killed in the last two months. They are opening fire on ambulances. The soldiers are not letting even those with curfew passes through. How do they expect us to give exams when classes haven’t been held for two months? Can they not gauge our state of mind?”
Protests erupted at the University Wednesday afternoon as 150 students from the Science block, Mass Communication and Computer Science departments refused to appear for the exams. A student suggested, “The authorities should fuse the fourth and the third semesters and conduct the exams later when things get better.”
Moreover, students have declared that they will start an agitation on campuses all over the Valley unless all the political prisoners are released from Indian prisons. “Since June 11, students have been killed in Kashmir. We would like to express solidarity with their families, and we pray for those injured. Kashmiri students have been needlessly detained in Jammu. It was completely unwarranted. We condemn all of this. Students are a part of this movement and we will play our role. We will sacrifice as much as we can,” said a Law student.
In response to those who say that the education of the students is suffering amidst the turmoil, a student replies, “Here, we don’t have a right to life, so stop worrying about our education and our future.”
Let the government first restore our natural right to life, then our Constitutional right to education, exclaims another student. He adds, “We will convey all this to the Head of the Departments (HoDs), who will carry our message to the Vice Chancellor. Our Class Representatives have already met with the HODs Wednesday.”
Dilnaz Boga is a journalist from Mumbai based in Srinagar. She is working as a journalist for www.Kashmirdispatch.com She has also worked for Hindustan Times as Chief Copy Editor in Mumbai and in Mumbai Mirror as a senior copy-editor. Previously, she has also worked for a city-based newspaper, writing on issues like health, women’s and children’s issues, human interest, civic, education and crime. She has also covered conflicts in Kashmir, the North-East, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra for several publications. She completed her BA in English and Psychology from Sophia College, Mumbai University and her MA in English Literature from Mumbai University. In July 2004, she completed her MA in Peace and Conflict Studies with a distinction on her dissertation ‘Cycles of violence: The impact of human rights violations on the children in Kashmir’ from the University of Sydney in Australia. The following year she shot a documentary in Kashmir on the same subject titled, Invisible Kashmir: The other side of jannat (Heaven), which was screened at film festivals all over the world. She also makes Special Contributions to Opinion Maker.