KU Students Asked To Respect National Anthem!

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Srinagar – Caught in a Catch-22 dilemma, the Kashmir University authorities, in an unprecedented move, are understood to have asked its officials and students to ensure that they stood up when the national anthem was played during the upcoming 8th Science Congress commencing on Monday.

Denying any official order to the effect had been issued, the vice-chancellor said he had given his mind to the officials during recent discussions.

Quoting a group of students, reports said authorities had told them to show respect to the national anthem during the 8th J&K Science Congress beginning on 17th of this month. “They have asked us to exercise our discretion of not attending the convocation in case we don’t want to respect the national anthem,” reports said.

According to sources, the vice-chancellor has held several meetings with officials to ensure that everybody present at the function showed respect to the national anthem by standing up as it was played.

“Some students, academics and scholars have refused to stand up while the national anthem is played. However, authorities are trying to ensure that everyone shows respect to it,” the sources said, adding, “No one would be allowed to show disrespect to the national anthem and if anyone from the faculty is found violating the order would be dealt with strictly.” The faculty and staff have been told by their department heads about it.

When contacted, the vice-chancellor, Prof Tal’at Ahmad, denied any formal order had been issued asking the officials and students to stand up when the national anthem was being played during the upcoming Science Congress.

“In the backdrop of the embarrassing things that had happened earlier, I discussed the specific issue with my colleagues and only gave them my mind about it,” he told Kashmir Observer, adding he did not think it was a big issue. He said he believed in decentralized working of the institution and had entrusted various tasks to the concerned authorities.

It may be recalled that in May 2012, many officials and students did not stand up to the national anthem creating an embarrassing situation for the University authorities during the inauguration of a 3-day seminar on “Impact of Peace, Conflict and Disturbance on Economic Development Processes,” at which the governor, N.N Vohra, who is also the university’s chancellor, was the chief guest.

Annoyed by the alleged disrespect shown by officials and students, the matter is understood to have been taken up with the vice-chancellor, who is now taking no chances to ensure there was no repeat of the earlier incident.

“I’ll not go into convocation if I’m forced to stand to pay respect to the anthem,” said an official of the University, on condition of anonymity.

“How can anyone force us to act against our will and conscience? My right to dissent must be respected if I don’t want to stand on national anthem,” said a student pleading anonymity.

(With inputs from KNS)

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