BENGALURU: It was an interaction session between the media and Parliament member Shashi Tharoor. But a 20-year-old butted in to draw Tharoor’s attention on issues concerning Jammu and Kashmir, her home.Shalini Pathyad, a student of Jyothi Nivas College in Bengaluru, was on duty as part of the support staff. Clad in her NCC uniform, she sought to know what best could be done to restore peace in Jammu and Kashmir and also improve education.
“Why is it that all important institutes are located in Kashmir and none in Jammu?” she questioned Tharoor.Speaking on the sidelines of the press conference, she explained that these issues bothered her as a student and would affect the others in her hometown. “It is not just educational institutes; even hospitals and other essential services are mostly centred in Kashmir. It is unfair for people in Jammu. We are probably better off as a separate state,” she added.
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Voicing her concerns, Shalini said that it was education that mostly took a beating with the issues that disturb Kashmir. “Consider this. Students from across the country come to study at the National Institute of Technology, Kashmir. Every time there is an issue, the college has to be shut. Students are the worst affected,” she said.She added that this does not last for a day or two. “It goes on for months. There is no Internet either during that time.”
Alternatively, she said that with Jammu being relatively peaceful, educational institutes could be set up there. “If there is an issue, those from Jammu also are at loss. We cannot go there either as the roads are blocked. Access to all essential services is blocked,” she complained.
Shalini sought from Tharoor that the opposition raise the issue and have Article 370 abolished in the state. Tharoor, however told her that it would not be possible in the present situation.