AIIMS in Jammu Spurs Demand for IIT, IIM in Valley

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SRINAGAR: Sanctioning of three major central institutions for Jammu and only one for Valley has snowballed into a major controversy with civil society groups out against what they term as ‘discriminatory’ attitude viz a viz Kashmir adopted by the Central Government.

Union government’s decision to allot Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) and now AIIMS to Jammu against only AIIMS in the Valley has prompted Kashmir civil society groups to threaten agitation against the ‘discriminatory attitude’ of the BJP led government in Delhi.

Buckling under pressure from the Jammu pressure groups, government announced on Thursday that both Jammu as well as Kashmir will get their own super-speciality institutes. 

“Like the Central University came to Jammu as well to Kashmir, AIIMS will come up in Jammu as well as in Kashmir.,” minister for industries and commerce, Chander Parkash Ganga, told reporters.  

Soon after taking over as Prime Minister Narindra Modi had announced establishment of IIT, IIM and IIMC in Jammu while AIIMS was allotted to Kashmir valley. PDP-BJP alliance had mentioned it in their Agenda of Alliance ahead of polls.

Amid mounting pressure tactics, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed made it clear that AIIMS was only meant for Kashmir as per PDP-BJP Agenda of Alliance.

However people in Jammu were not content with the three institutions but wanted AIIMS as well.

Different political pressure groups organized bandhs and protests against ‘denying’ AIIMS to Jammu.

The AIIMS would be set up in both Kashmir and Jammu regions, Chander Parkash said Thursday, putting to rest controversy over the issue and sparking anguish in the Valley where development has suffered a lethal blow over the last two decades of anti-India insurgency.  

On Friday a number of groups flayed government for giving green signal for AIIMS in Jammu region, while denying IIT, IIM and IIMC for Kashmir on the same merit.

Accusing central government of deliberately keeping Kashmir away from development, industrialist and social activist, Shakeel Qalandar said, “from last six decades every dispensation in New Delhi showed keenness to develop Jammu at the cost of Kashmir, Chenab Valley and Pirpanchal region.”

He said discrimination with Kashmir valley is going on since 1947 and there is not an iota of doubt in this fact that Government of India seeks pleasure in rendering us in a state of apathy.

“It is the testing time for the local state government. We have to see whether our Chief Minister Mufti Muhamamad Sayeed is going to protect the interests of people residing in Kashmir and Chenab Valley or he will allow two districts of Jammu to get lions share,” Shakeel Qalandar said.

Taking a dig at the ‘merit’, Qalandar added that if this is the yardstick that anything that should go to Kashmir, should go to Jammu as well, then IIMC, IIM and IIT should also be established in Kashmir Valley.

He said that every year funds allocated for the development in Kashmir Valley are being diverted to Jammu. “The irony is that flood tragedy befell upon the people of Kashmir and the funds meant for the flood victims are being used for the development of Jammu.  Same will happen to funds that will come from the World Bank,” he apprehended.

He added that Kashmiri people have not only been facing discrimination in every sphere of life but the Government of India through different ways and means tried and has been trying its best to make Kashmiri people dependent. “All efforts are being made to deprive us from all the facilities so that we beg before others,” he said.

Shakeel Qalandar said that once AIIMS gets sanctioned for Jammu, the order will be immediately implemented in letter and spirit.

“The picture in Kashmir is different. I don’t think the sanction order of AIIMS for Kashmir will be implemented. Six years back, a Central University was granted to Kashmir but the government is still in process of finding land for that University.”

Joining the fray, Coaching Centres Association (CCA) of Kashmir also criticized the government for alleged ‘blatant discrimination’ in the allotment of reputed institutions for Kashmir.

The association accused the government of playing with the emotions of Kashmiries. “We don’t criticize the decision of granting AIIMS to Jammu, but what about Kashmir? Adding , the government has squarely denied IIT, IIMC and IIM to Kashmir,” said G N Var chairman CCA said.

The association in a press handout said that Jammu already has number of engineering avenues and it is a Kashmiri student who suffers due to lack of such institutions. “Jammu has government engineering college, Kashmir have none, Jammu has three private engineering colleges, Kashmir have just one and now Jammu will have IIM, IIMC and IIT too and Kashmir will have nothing,” said Var.

“The irony is that no Kashmiri lawmakers is raising any voice against the discrimination,” he said.

The association threatened to launch a widespread agitation against this discrimination in case government doesn’t establish IIT, IIM and IIMC in Kashmir too. “We are landlocked and our students studying outside face constant discrimination, which necessitates establishing of institutions of higher education here,” said Var.

“If government doesn’t meet our demands then it should expect thousands of students on roads. We are already in consultation with schools association, people from traders community and civil society. If the discrimination continues we will start a joint agitation for demanding our rights,” he added.

The association is charting out a calendar for next events in coordination with other stakeholders. “Don’t expect us to remain mum on this discrimination. By virtue of these institutions government is investing more than 1000 crores in Jammu division and Kashmir is not getting a single penny whose economy needs urgent push in the wake of last years floods,” said Var. “We ask government to come clean on this issue.”

Reacting to the developments Lok Sabha member and senior leader of Peoples Democratic Party, Tariq Hamid Karra, said the demand for IIT and IIM in Kashmir Valley is equally based on merit as the demand for AIIMS in Jammu was. 

“I am not speaking for one region or the other, but if Jammu, based on merit, gets AIIMS, why can’t Kashmir have an IIT and IIM? It is a genuine demand and I have already spoken about it, that an IIT and IIM must be sanctioned to Kashmir Valley as well,” Karra was quoted as saying.

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