The University Grants Commission has warned students against taking admission in educational institutions in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) stating it is an integral part of India and under illegal occupation of Pakistan.
“Since Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) is an integral part of Union of India and the educational institutions including universities, medical colleges and technical institutions and other education institutions situated in PoJK are neither established by Government of India nor recognized by statutory authorities such as University Grants Commission (UGC), All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), Medical Council of India (MCI), etc,” states the May 8 UGC notification issued by Secretary Professor Rajnish Jain.
“Therefore, students are cautioned/ advised against taking admission in any college/ university/ technical institution in any territory under illegal occupation of Pakistan including the so-called AJK and Gilgit Baltistan, which are currently not recognized in India,” the notification said.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Chairman of the Hurriyat Conference, described the UGC directive as “politicisation” of education and said it “violates” the fundamental right of students to take education anywhere in the world. “It is unfortunate politicisation of education, which violates the fundamental right of students to seek education anywhere in the globe. It (the UGC notification) has put the career of those studying there in jeopardy and uncertainty.”
While every year, a large number of students from Kashmir valley take admission in Pakistani colleges, especially for medical courses, very few students choose PoK as their destination for higher studies. The Pakistani colleges have a special quota for students from Kashmir.
Urging the government and the UGC to withdraw the “unreasonable diktat”, Mirwaiz asked the government “not to play politics” with the career of Kashmiri students. “They, just like students elsewhere in the world, have the right to choose where to study,” he said.“Barring students from seeking admission in educational institutions of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, which is part of the entire Jammu and Kashmir of which they are state subjects, makes no sense,” the Hurriyat chairman said. “After suspension of cross LoC trade that has greatly affected economy and traders associated with it, this is another regressive move adversely affecting the students of the State this time,” he said.