Intro: The scholarships being provided by Pakistan to Jammu and Kashmiri youth are a misplaced attempt to show allegiance with the young people of the Valley to exploit their aspiration.
A recent news report has alleged that leaders of the Hurriyat Conference are using scholarships to universities in Pakistan for personal gains. The Government of Pakistan has instituted scholarship schemes for “deserving students’ in Medical and Engineering streams. The selected students are given admission in various universities of Pakistan and the Government of Pakistan has given a free hand for selection of the candidates to the separatist Hurriyat Conference leaders.
The Hurriyat leaders purportedly charge 10-15 lakhs for the “sale” of each scholarship. They also set up their close relatives and family members to avail the facility. The report has sent shock waves across the Valley and also shaken up the establishment in Pakistan. It is reported that Mehmood Sagar, a Hurriyat representative in Pakistan, has tendered his resignation due to this issue.
With this, the unholy, self serving and corrupt practices of the Hurriyat leadership stand exposed. It is evident that the Hurriyat leaders have an obsession to rake in money by whatever means possible; they also leave no opportunity for advancement of their own family. It is no wonder then that the children of Hurriyat leaders are out of the Kashmir valley and onto lucrative jobs across the globe. They have made good use of all facilities that were extended for the common Kashmiri by Pakistan and other Islamic organisations.
The advent of normality in Jammu and Kashmir, especially in the Kashmir valley, has brought about a marked change in the perception of the youth of the region. They are impatient to set aside the shadow of the gun and concentrate on their professional progression. It is this desire that attracts the youth towards any and every opportunity for furthering taking advantage of their aspirations their education that comes their way; the scholarships being provided by Pakistan are a misplaced attempt to show allegiance with the young people of the Valley and to exploit their dreams.
The Hurriyat has traditionally been quick to take advantage of such sensitivities to meet personal ends and this case is no different. First it motivated Pakistan to declare the scholarships, then it took on the responsibility for selection of the candidates and finally it used the facility for personal gains.
What is not being understood by Pakistan is that the few dozen seats that it is offering are not even a drop in the ocean and can do little to further its divisive agenda in Kashmir.
The Government of India is providing 5000 scholarships to the youth of J&K every year under its “Special Scholarship Scheme for Jammu and Kashmir (SSSJ&K) launched by the Department of Higher Education, Government of India, from the academic year 2011-12 onwards. The opportunity is being utilised extensively by the youth, especially of Kashmir, and the seats are filled to capacity.
This apart, Kashmiri students are coming out in droves to avail the education facilities available across the country. A very encouraging sight is that of Kashmiri girls availing of coaching facility in Kota, a small town in Rajasthan famous for preparation for competitive examinations. The result is there for all to see—more and more Kashmiri youth are taking up jobs in various companies and organisations in all metropolitan cities of the country, especially Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
Inimical forces look upon the youth as a prime constituency for their objective of destabilising the State of J&K. They come up with various means to attract the youth and then exploit them for their evil ends. As the new coalition government gears up to take on its responsibility of governance, it will need to take note of the manner in which the youth of the state, especially of the Kashmir region, are being exploited by inimical forces both within and outside the state for personal ends. Reigning in this evil agenda and punishing the perpetrators under the law of the land should be a priority for the new government.
Jaibans Singh (The writer is Editor of www.defenceinfo.com)