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Verification of J&K teachers’ certificates stirs hornet’s nest

Source: Google images
Source: Google images
Source: Google images

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Education Minister Naeem Akhtar has stirred a hornet’s nest by announcing that the certificates of those employed as ‘Rehbar-e-Taleem’ (ReT) teachers in the state would be verified and they would have to clear a screening test before being regularized.

ReT teachers are engaged in the state on a consolidated monthly packet of Rs.3,000 for five years after which they are confirmed in government service and put in the regular pay scales.

The aim of the scheme has been to engage locals in different areas and post them in their own areas to ensure attendance and duties in addition to exposing the state exchequer to lesser burden.

“The hon’ble high court had directed the state government on May 14 to scrutinize the degree certificates of ReTs who obtained such certificates through distance mode and also conduct screening tests of ReTs before regularizing their services,” Akhtar told IANS.

“The government is only complying with the directions of the hon’ble high court in this case,” he added.

Interestingly, the union leaders of the school teachers in the state are up in arms against the decision.

Abdul Qayoom Wani, president of the J&K teachers’ forum, told IANS: “It is an exercise to make the state education department defunct and cast aspersions on the genuineness of the universities that have given degrees to these teachers.”

“These teachers have obtained degrees from recognized universities and seeking the verification of these degrees now would open floodgates of corruption and prove to be the last nail in the coffin of the department.

“What is the fun of verifying a degree obtained from a recognized university? Further, the decision to start screening tests for regularization would be a mockery as ReTs serve for five years under the condition that their services would be regularized at the end of the mandatory period,” Wani added.

The education minister supported his decision, saying: “Pure gold tested at any touchstone would turn out to be the same.”

“Why create a controversy that gives one to believe the certificates we intend to verify are not verifiable because of reasons known only to them who oppose such verification?”

Arguments for and against the proposed verification and screening tests were debated through newspaper columns and on FM Radio broadcasts in the state.

It is for the first time since the ongoing separatist violence started here 28 years ago that education and learning have entered public discourse in Jammu and Kashmir.

The common man on the street is showing keen interest in the debate.

“There should be nothing wrong in verifying any degree certificate irrespective of whether the same is issued by a recognized university or not. Haven’t we heard of fake certificates issued in the name of recognized and prestigious universities by fraudulent people?” asked Manzoor Ahmad, 56, a resident of old Srinagar.

Others say there should be no controversy about something the highest court in the state orders.

“The decision of the court cannot be challenged except through a legal process. If the high court has ordered such a thing, nobody can question the direction unless it is challenged or set aside by a division bench of the same court or the apex court of the country,” said advocate Zahoor Ahmad.


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Supreme Court asks Center and J&K govt to sit together and resolve Muslim Minority status

Earlier, the court had issued notice to the Centre, the state government and the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) on the plea filed by Jammu-based advocate Ankur Sharma, alleging that benefits accruing to minorities were being taken away by Muslims, who were in a majority in Jammu and Kashmir

Supreme court on child marriage case.
The Supreme Court of India says sex with wife below 18 is Rape. Wikimedia

New Delhi, March 27, 2017: Expressing its viewpoint on the affairs of Jammu and Kashmir, the Supreme Court on Monday asked the Central and the State government of Jammu and Kashmir to “sit together” and decide contentious issues including the question whether Muslims can be treated as the minority in the state, PTI reported.

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A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul asked both the governments to resolve the issue and submit a report to it within four weeks.

“This is a very very important issue. You both sit together and take a stand on it,” the bench said.

A month ago, the apex court had ordained a fine of Rs 30,000 on it for not documenting its answer to a PIL charging that minority advantages are being enjoyed by the majority of Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir.

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The beach had extended a last chance to the Center to document its answer, saying the matter is critical.

The court had, however, permitted the counsel for the Center to file the response after depositing the fine and had additionally noticed that a fine of Rs 15,000 was likewise forced last time also for the similar reason.

Earlier, the court had issued notice to the Centre, the state government and the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) on the plea filed by Jammu-based advocate Ankur Sharma, alleging that benefits accruing to minorities were being taken away by Muslims, who were in a majority in Jammu and Kashmir.

The plea also alleged that rights of religious and linguistic ‘minorities’ in the state were being “siphoned off illegally and arbitrarily” due to extension of benefits to “unqualified sections” of the population.

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It has been settled that the identification of minority communities has to be decided as per the population data of the state in question, Sharma had said.

The apex court, however, had refused to restrain authorities from disbursing benefits to any community in the state.

The PIL has also sought the setting up of State Minority Commission for identification of minorities.

“The population of Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir according to the 2011 Census is 68.31 per cent. Communities which are eligible to be notified as minorities, were not awarded their due share of scholarship owing to their non-identification as minorities, thereby jeopardising their constitutionally guaranteed rights enshrined under Part III of the Constitution of India”.

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“This clearly reflects the unfairness and discrimination of the State towards the communities in the state of Jammu and Kashmir which are eligible to be notified as minorities,” the petition alleged.

-prepared by Ashish Srivastava of NewsGram Twitter @PhulRetard

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After 75 long years, Kashmiri Pandits celebrate Dashar Maha Kumbh in their Homeland Kashmir

The local Pandits in Kashmir were delighted to celebrate the Kumbh mela in their homeland

Ujjain: Ascetics during Simhastha Kumbh Mela, the largest congregation of Hindus in Ujjain on April 22, 2016. Image: IANS
  • Kashmiri pandits celebrate Kumbh mela at the junction of Jhelum and Sindh river
  • After 75 years, they witnessed the religious celebration in their homeland
  • People were also scared of the aftermath of being targeted at the vulnerable areas 

Kashmiri pandits celebrated the auspicious Kumbh mela after a long wait of 75 years in their homeland on Tuesday, June 14. The point of convergence of river Jhelum and Sindh in the Shadi Pora district of north Kashmir and 30 kilometres away from the capital Srinagar, witnessed the holy festival celebration.

As the Kumbh mela is a day of washing off one’s sins by taking a dip into holy rivers, the pundits observed the same at the Mela Kheer Bhawani. Where some were praying to get themselves rid of the sins, others prayed for their happy home returning.

kashmiri pandits
The Kashmiri pandits at the convergence point of Jhelum and Sindh. Image source:

However, it was crucial to see how the J&K government took appropriate measures to ensure safety and security of all the devotees. The sanitation was too well maintained. BJP was seen as with a helping desk at the bank of river Jhelum.

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It was also interesting to see a cultural mix where the Muslim population, on fast in the month of Ramadan, was seen putting up stalls to sell flowers, fruits, vegetables, juices and other consumables adhering to the needs of all the devotees came to attend the fest. The locals also looked after the need of the devotees by providing them with facilities of boats to cross the river.

The politically charged atmosphere of Kashmir “ where on one hand government last week disallowed Abhinav Gupta Yatra in Budgam district, while on other hand their decision to bring back pandits to exclusive settlements has been widely criticized”,  however did not affect the peaceful offerings at the Kumbh.

kashmiri pandits
women offering prayers to the river. Image source:

Dr. Bansi Lal, who left the place in 1990, told The Economic Times that “This yug has come after 75 years. I hope, pray and wait that I will also come back one day to my homeland.”

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Another local who attended the mela also said “They should set up settlements within the local population in every tehsil, so that we can mingle and not be an eyesore.”

Since 1941, it was in this year that the festival was observed and even now the Kashmiri pandits were frightened of the aftermath of this Hindu festival being celebrated at this level. There is always a hidden fear of being targeted at the vulnerable areas. Whatever the after-thoughts are, they were seen happy to witness the mela after a long time in their homelands.

-Megha is a freelance contributor at NewsGram.Twitter: @meghash06510344


2 responses to “After 75 long years, Kashmiri Pandits celebrate Dashar Maha Kumbh in their Homeland Kashmir”

  1. This is truly amazing. India is known for its unity in diversity and that is what is the true essence of India. Reading about how Kashmiri muslims put up stalls near the mela, was a delight. People should appreciate this.

  2. Celebration is a prayer. A day of washing off one’s sins by taking a dip into holy rivers in the politically charged atmosphere of Kashmir could not have been thought before.

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Is Srinagar turning blind eye to militants who killed 3 policemen?

Several questions such as “Don’t they have the right to live?” “Why to attack unarmed policemen?” are being raised.

J&K Cheif minister, Image credits :
  • Unidentified gunmen shot dead 2 policemen at Bagh-e-Mardan 
  • Hizbul Mujahideen claimed responsibility for all these lethal attacks
  • Militants are getting ready for more action and are lurking in Srinagar

SRINAGAR: For the first time in 3 years once again Policemen are being targeted by the militants in Jammu and Kashmir. Unidentified militants shot dead 3 policemen from the Special Operation Group (SOG) recently in Srinagar on May 24.

In the first attack, unidentified gunmen shot dead 2 policemen at Bagh-e-Mardan (located 200m from Zadibal police station). Both officers were unarmed. After being shot they died on their way to the hospital. Whereas in the second attack attackers came on a motorcycle and shot the policemen. Before fleeing the spot they also managed to snatch Rifles and other weapons.

Hizbul Mujahideen claimed responsibility for all these lethal attacks. He has further warned of similar attacks in near future. For a long time though the J&K police have been able to maintain the city as a militant free place. Security forces were achieving very good success but these killings now indicate militants have managed to sneak into the city. However, security in Srinagar was tightened and armed policemen were deployed in crowded areas.

Javid Mujtaba Gillani (Inspector General of Police (Kashmir Zone)) said: “the attacks were the result of security forces maintaining pressure on militants.”

Paying homage to dead soldiers. Wikimedia commons
Paying homage to dead soldiers. Wikimedia commons

K Rajendra Kumar (The Director General of Police) further elucidated “Militant recruits face a shortage of weapons because the traditional arms-supply through the Line of Control has been thwarted by a strict vigil of the Indian Army, according to news reports. The militants, as a result, have taken to snatching weapons from security forces to stock their arsenals.

These attacks a desperate act by militants to announce their presence. Militants are getting ready for more action and are lurking in Srinagar.

Contrary to this fact Khurram Parvez, (human rights activist and Programme Coordinator of the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society in Srinagar) said “the police personnel knows the consequences and dangers involved in duty. Legally speaking this [Zadibal shootout] was combatants fighting combatants,”

J&K Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti paid homage to the departed souls of the policemen. Omar Abdullah (National Conference working president) called it a “worrying development. Locals are mourning the death of those unarmed police forces. Several questions such as “Don’t they have the right to live?” “Why to attack unarmed policemen?” are being raised. There have been sayings that “If this is Jihad, then we want nothing out of it.”


-by Pritam

Pritam is a 3rd year engineering student and an intern at NewsGram. Twitter handle: @pritam_gogreen