Tug of war over central varsity

for the varsity and a Central University Andolan Samiti (CUAS) is in place. The crisis erupted soon after the ageing academic Prof Abdul Wahid Qureshi, who is the vice chancellor of the varsity, began an office from a rented room on Srinagar bypass with few chairs and a clerk. The news shocked many in Jammu who mistook it to be the  beginning of setting up of the campus. And then agitation followed.
Under the Human Resources Development (HRD) ministry plan for creating more institutions, J&K was given a university and a management institute. Initial indications from the central government suggested that the university would go to Jammu and IIM to Kashmir. But the controversy erupted for no apparent reason.
Concerned over the daily protests in Jammu, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah led a high level delegation to New Delhi seeking two universities, a request that has been politely rejected. The other option under consideration is understood to be a two-campus university which in the long run may not be a workable option.
A Group of Ministers from coalition government along with Devinder Singh Rana, Omar’s right hand man has already announced in Jammu that the central university would be set up in Jammu. The state government has already identified a 4000-kanals piece of land around Samba where the Rs. 3500 crore university would be set up. They had detailed interactions with the cross section of the society in this regard. CUAS leaders, however, boycotted the interactions. They visited the newly set up office of the university in Gandhi Nagar that, within days, sought applications from aspirants for various positions.  
The announcements had no impact on the agitation. The latest on the agitation front was the girl students tying red bands on the wrists of reluctant cops with a request that they should not intervene. But the issue had raked up another controversy, this time much more convincing.
With Central University, Jammu will now have four universities – the Jammu University, the SKUAST, Shri Vaishno Devi University and the Central university. Though Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah is yet another university but it is located for away to cater to the requirements of twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri.
There has been not a single word from Kashmir even to seek or to oppose the central university. Given the requirements, many think Kashmir will ill-afford it and its benefits would be much less than investments. But the overall situation of the universities offers an interesting study. Srinagar has two universities, south Kashmir has one, Jammu has four, Rajouri-Poonch has one. This leaves two areas as the most deserving places – Ladakh and Chenab Valley.
Though nobody from the arid desert has sought the institution, but there are strong voice from Chenab Valley. They have already set up Chenab Valley Central University Forum (CVCUF) and they are planning an agitation.
“We would fight for justified right of Chenab valley for setting up central university here. It has to be in Jammu region but why in Samba, why not in Doda,” Asim Hashmi, the president of the CVCUF said. Barely two days after the demand got its voice in the state legislature. Wiqar Rasool from Banihal, Aijaz Jan from Poonch and Shareef Niyaz from Bhaderwah – all said the Chenab Valley has the first right over the University, given its backwardness and topography.

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