Saturday, August 8, 2009

Jammu Fights Jammu Over Central University

Srinagar, Aug 7: It was Jammu fighting Jammu over the controversial central university issue in the Legislative Assembly on Friday. The members from Banihal, Rajouri, Doda and Poonch strongly resisted the demand of the MLAs from Jammu, Kathua, Samba to have its campus near Jammu.
When BJP member, Jugal Kishore, raised the issue during zero hour, he faced tough opposition from the MLA, Banihal, Waqar Rasool, who shouted at him saying they had confined Jammu to the boundaries of three districts. 
In his speech, Kishore said Jammu was about to explode over the central university issue. He claimed the government had already consented to establish the university in Jammu and now it was creating confusion by not taking any decision over it. “If the university is not established in Jammu, it would create serious law and order problem,” he said. 
However, MLA Banihal said the politicians based in Jammu and Kathua districts were unnecessarily painting the central university as Jammu versus Kashmir issue. “Whenever they talk of Jammu, they mean Jammu district only,” he said, adding that over the years Rajouri, Poonch, Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban had been ignored. 
In his speech, Waqar Rasool demanded the university should be set up at the centrally- located Banihal as no one would have any problem with it. “Over the years, Doda,  Ramban, Rajouri and Poonch have been ignored in the name of Jammu,” he said. 
The MLA, Haveli, Ejaz Ahmad Bhat, seconded Waqar Rasool saying that the university should be established in any backward area. He said the Poonch district was the most suitable place for it and the opening of Mughal Road would make it as more than suitable.
The MLA, Darhal, Choudary Zulfiqar Ali, however, described Rajouri as the suitable place for the proposed university. Rajouri is four hour journey both from Jammu and from Kashmir. The MLA, Baderwah, Muhammad Sharief Niaz, said the university should be in Pir Panchal region and must be established in erstwhile Doda district. “Pir Panchal region is very backward and has been neglected in development over the years,” he said, adding that once the university was established in Doda, it would uplift the educationally backward area. 
The Peoples Democratic Party’s Peerzada Mansoor Ahmad was the only MLA from Kashmir who spoke on the issue. He said he was not opposing the university in Jammu province. However, he added, that whenever it is established in Jammu, it should be established simultaneously in Kashmir as well. “Kashmir is watching the developments minutely and would react sharply in case injustice was done to the valley,” he warned.

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