Jammu: Jammu is simmering with students at universities preparing to launch a huge protest against the Central government. The recent decision of the Centre to formally abolish the Jammu and Kashmir cadre of Civil Services and also scrap the special age relaxation clause has put the future of the youth in jeopardy, say students. The decision has been termed as the “final nail in the coffin” of the unemployed youth of J&K. With this, J&K has been made part of AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh Goa and Mizoram Union Territories.)
It should be noted that a five-year age relaxation in civil services was granted in the backdrop of the insurgency in the 1990s which led to migration and tumultuous times across the state. It has been six months since J&K has been bifurcated and demoted to the status of a Union Territory. The demotion was followed by a complete communication blockade in J&K.
The government had ensured people that the decision would lead to development and more jobs in the erstwhile state. Students say the latest decision has proved otherwise, however.
NewsClick visited Jammu University to speak to students, know about their anxieties and expectations and what they expect from the Centre.
Betrayed by the Centre
It was not a run-of-the-mill day at Jammu University. Students could be seen discussing the abolished civil services cadre outside cafeterias, classrooms, departments and in the garden. A meeting had been called by the students at 3 p.m. to discuss and deliberate upon the government’s decision. Amid a lot of preparation, a huge protest will take place, NewsClick was told.
When asked how the decision by the government was received by the students, Vikas Badhoria, LLM student at Jammu University, said the government had “betrayed the youth of Jammu and Kashmir. There was a reason behind age relaxation given to the civil service aspirants. Jammu and Kashmir is a disturbed area or a conflict zone, so to say.”
Badhoria said that he lives in a border village prone to shelling and that what has been happening is not normal. “The youth from other states don’t have to deal with militancy, terrorism and shelling. This government and its policies are anti-youth and it is of serious concern to us,” he added.
On the question of unemployment, Anirudh Raina, another Jammu University student mentions that the unemployment rate in the country hasn’t been higher in the past 45 years and that “the government seems to be in deep slumber. The government seriously needs to rethink about its anti-youth policies else it will be too late.”
Aspirants of civil services are shocked after realising that their age doesn’t fall under the specified limit after the age relaxation clause was scrapped. They do not agree to speak or come on the record as they still hope that the government would take back what they call an “atrocious” decision. “We don’t want to comment right now. Maybe, the government will reconsider and take back the decision. Let’s wait for 2-3 days,” said a civil services aspirant.
A student in her early 30s was enraged and spoke on the behalf of her friend. “There are students who have been preparing for the past 3 years and they now get to know that they can’t appear in the examination because of the withdrawal of the clause. Do you what that means? They have put in money for coaching and have been working hard, only to realize that their dreams are broken. It’s a nightmare for them, for us,” said Asha, a research scholar from Jammu University.