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No human rights education for Kashmir
SRINAGAR, July 20: Kashmir, a place where human rights violation runs unbridled, education system sans human rights course. No university or college in the Valley provides any kind of course in human rights even as the subject is receiving international attention.

Students or professionals wishing to gain knowledge on human rights or pursue their career in the field, are left in lurch.

“It is highly unfortunate not to have human rights course in the education system. It is a lacuna in education system,” said educationists Prof A.G.Madhosh.

In 2003, Kashmir University’s Law department had started a yearlong post graduate diploma in human rights. The course lured scores of local students, particularly from legal backgrounds. According to sources, the course was initially funded by the University Grants Commission (UGC) of India.

But two years into the programme, the UGC stopped the grant and the state government prepared to take over the bursary. When it failed to do so, the University of Kashmir stepped in to take up the liabilities and run the course under its own watch.

However in 2009, the course was closed down, leaving no option for students.

“We do not know why the course was closed down. But it has adversely affected students,” said Amber Mushtaq (named changed) a law student.

She said the closure of the course has shut opportunities for understanding the grave issue of human rights violation in Kashmir.

“It is ironic that Kashmir, which is marred with human rights violations, has no education in human rights. There is no way to create awareness amongst the youth on human rights,” Mohammad Naseem, a university student.

Khurram Parvaiz, human rights activist, believes the closure of the human rights course in Kashmir University to be a part of state policy.

“The students enrolled in the programme started conducting research on some grave human rights issues in Kashmir. They starting exposing the human rights violations in the Valley,” Khurram said.

This created a stir, since the state government does not facilitate any kind of political research at any level of education, he added.

Though the course was still in its infancy, its rapid growth put the government on edge, Khurram noted.

Advocate Nazir Ahamd Ronga considers human rights education a crucial element of society and calls for urgent inclusion of human rights education.

“Human rights violations are a burning issue in Kashmir and people lack awareness on it. Educating youth about it is extremely important,” Ronga said.

He said that a department dedicated solely to the study of human rights should be established in the Valley.

Particularly in conflict areas like Kashmir, Ronga said, knowledge about human rights needs to be spread far and wide. “It is through educating people on human rights that we can ensure a better future. We desperately need people to work in this field.”

Sociologist, Prof B.A.Dabla, said the situation in Kashmir calls for the inclusion of human rights education at all levels of education.

While talking to Kashmir Times, Prof Abdul Latief, head of Law faculty, University of Kashmir, said the human rights course was closed down due to the lack of staff and infrastructure.

“We do not have any future plans to restart it as of now,” Latief said.

News Updated at : Saturday, July 21, 2012
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