Social networking site Facebook may have gained popularity in Kashmir by youth resorting to anti-state discourse, but this week it made news for a different reason- the results of class 10 examination conducted by J&K State Board of School Education (BOSE), appeared first on Facebook. A day before the BOSE was to announce results, a link appeared on a Facebook page connecting to the result database of the BOSE website.
Soon it was reported that the BOSE result site has been hacked. By afternoon embarrassed BOSE authorities removed the data from its website, but only to put it up later, this time officially announcing the results.
After the hacking rumours, officials came up with their own explanation, – that the result link was leaked by some employees thanks to a rivalry among employee groups. The minister for education Peerzada Sayeed tried to downplay the controversy first, instead choosing the occasion to pat his own back for the 65 per cent pass percentage of students despite a turbulent summer. He also talked big about winter schooling, which the authorities aborted after the schools were made to spend for the purpose.
But later the minister also chipped in promising to nip the ‘culprits’ responsible for the leak fiasco.
Inquiries were ordered in the BOSE and even police help was sought.
But that was not all. Many students alleged discrepancies in the results. What added to the chaos were the contradictions the results declared online and the printed result gazettes, plus the BOSE decision to do away with re-evaluation this year.
Soon parents and students gathered at the BOSE office, and protested against the discrepancies. Under pressure the BOSE finally agreed to re-evaluation.
Coincidentally, the BOSE introduced grading system this year, but did not do away with the marks system. The move has generated a parallel debate. However discrepancies in the grading process, only added to the confusion.
Youth for police
When hundreds of youth gather at some place in downtown Srinagar, authorities usually brace themselves for expected trouble. But this time it was different, as hundreds of youth in Khanyar area of downtown Srinagar, not for a confrontation with police, but to test their luck in getting a berth in the force.
Police organised an on spot recruitment rally in Khanyar this week, and even though the event was announced at a short notice, hundreds of youth turned up to try their luck.
It was an unusual sight in the heart of volatile downtown belt which is known more for stone pelting clashes between youth and police. Reports quoting police officials said that aspirants made a beeline at the recruitment venue from 3am, and swelled by the morning. Many had to leave disappointed after a police officer announced that the recruitment was meant for youth falling under the jurisdiction of Khanyar Police station.
The recruitment was meant for the post of police constables, for which being a Class 10 pass out was the basic eligibility.
A police spokesman said that this was the first time a police recruitment rally was conducted in the area. The Director General of Police, Kuldeep Khoda and Inspector General of Police, Kashmir S M Sahai supervised the recruitment process. All the candidates who qualified the tests have been selected, the police spokesman informed.
Prized Passport form
Acquiring a passport is always a tough job in Kashmir, especially after the armed insurgency erupted in 1989. Thousands of people are barred from the facility, hence their right to travel, for want of police clearance reports. But this year, Kashmiris had to face curbs on the availability of passport forms itself.
Thanks to the “innovative” thinking of the passport officer, who happens to be a Kashmiri, the Srinagar passport office devised a novel mechanism to check the number of passport applications. While passport forms are freely available in any Indian city, the Srinagar office restricted the number of application forms it sold. A handful of forms were sold for a few hours in the office, forcing people to stand in long queues and make repeated visits for the prized form. It also discouraged people from using the forms downloaded from internet.
Some days back, one thought, the Passport Office had changed its policy, when it opened a district collection centre in downtown Srinagar, with much fanfare. But this week, as its turns out, the Passport Office has stopped the sale of fresh forms till January 27. The development comes in the wake of, what the officials say, is an overwhelming sale of forms during the last two months.
By the novel actions of the office, it seems the Srinagar centre is the busiest in the country, unable to manage its workload. Or is it that Kashmiris do not have equal rights to any facility as their counterparts in other cities have.
The Srinagar centre already has a disadvantage over other centres in the country, as ‘tatkal” (passport within days) facility is not available here.