‘To Protect His Vote Bank, The Local MLA Is Ruining Our Lives’: Kashmir Student Reveals

Posted on November 22, 2015 in Campus Watch

By Zeeshan Hyder:

There was the Bronze age, the Iron age and today we live in the age of Irony

—Howard Zinn

When the University of Kashmir established its own Engineering college in 2009, the University authorities had provisionally shifted the Department of Computer Science to the North Campus of the University at Delina, Baramulla (until the University’s Engineering College got completed).

Recently, the University has completed the construction of the Engineering college and the process of gaining education has started, but the authorities under serious pressure from the local MLA of Baramulla, are making students run from pillar to post, just to integrate that one department with the rest of the college.

Image source: Zeeshan Hyder
Image source: Zeeshan Hyder

It is very clear that a single branch of engineering cannot survive at the place where the students have ‘no engineering atmosphere’, basic infrastructure, negligible workshops and inferior laboratories, (exposure through technological festivals, conferences and seminars are even more far-fetched concerns). With the absence of such facilities, the students will fail to acquire practical knowledge of how things actually work. If the Computer Science department will be integrated with the other departments at the main campus of engineering college, the students can communicate, learn and share ideas with their colleagues of another department (for example: Electronics Department). They can use each other’s laboratories, faculty, research equipments and would get help from each other at different projects which will also maintain the decorum of an engineering college.

Nowadays, almost all the engineering departments of colleges across the country are interconnected with each other and their interdependence is precisely natural. It is very necessary now. Many branches need to complement each other about projects and dissertations. In the case of Computer Science, in these days, it is conjugal to Electronics, Wireless and Communication Engineering, and so on. Hence, the integration of the ‘currently isolated’ department with the rest of the engineering college should be done on a war-foot basis, as the career of more than 250 students is at stake.

Let us take an example of a medical college. It has various departments, for example, medicine, paediatrics, orthopaedics, radiology, oncology etcetera and, they all function at one place, under one roof. The Department of Medicine cannot be dragged onto another campus and radiology in another. Just like that, how can a professional course like engineering be isolated from other departments? It is utterly absurd and unrealistic.

The main conundrum of the story is the local lawmaker from ruling People’s Democratic Party and the nephew of Member of Parliament Muzzafar Beigh, MLA Javaid Beigh, who has threatened the Vice Chancellor of the University of Kashmir over a phone call that, “If the Computer Science department is shifted to Engineering College at Srinagar, I will myself burn the tyres on the roads of Baramulla“. The phone call had come after the VC had held a meeting on the decision on transferring the Computer Science department from Delina to its main campus, Zakura Engineering College. Thus, under dogmatic political pressure, the VC could not move ahead.

Students have alleged that the Education Minister, Mr Naeem Akhtar and Vice Chancellor of University of Kashmir Mr Khurshid Andrabi, had been in favour of making Zakura Campus operational, nevertheless, the pressure mounted by MLA Javaid Beigh, has created a fuss in the whole issue. The MLA, just to protect his vote bank by having an ‘engineering campus’ in his area, is ruining the career of more than 250 students. He wants the Department to be functioned in Baramulla, which is ethically not possible.

This issue is outstanding right from the start of the course at North Campus. Therefore, by shifting the Department to the already built Engineering College at Zakura, the students will get a fair chance to concentrate on studies and hope for a better future, without any exaggeration or distortion.

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