The University Grants Commission (UGC), in a notification issued on May 8, has warned students not to take admission in unapproved institutions located in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). They have said that PoK is an integral part of India that is currently illegally occupied by 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 notification issued by Secretary Professor Rajnish Jain.
The notification further stated that “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.”
Although the government had only warned students against taking admission from unrecognized institutions, Kashmiri separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who is the Chairman of the Hurriyat Conference condemned the notice, alleged that education was being politicised.
In a Facebook post, he had written, “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.”
The post further read, “Kashmiri students like students worldwide have every right to study anywhere they choose and barring them from seeking admission in educational institutions of Pakistan administered Kashmir which is part of entire J&K of which they are state subjects, makes no sense. After the suspension of cross LoC trade that has greatly affected the traders and those associated with it and the economy, this is another regressive move adversely affecting the students of the state this time.”