Chandigarh, Feb 20: On the directions of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Minister for Rural Development Panchayat Raj, Law and Justice, Abdul Haq Khan today met J&K students in Chandigarh University Chandigarh to get the firsthand account of the issues being faced by the students outside their state.
The Minister was accompanied by Pro-Chancellor of the Chandigarh University Prof B.S Sohi, Mission Director JKSRLM, BakshiJavedHamayun, Additional Mission Director Kapil Sharma and other senior officers of the state government and Chandigarh Government besides the officials of the University.
In the back drop of some untoward incidents in recent past, Chief Minister has directed the Minister to meet the students in their colleges to know their wellbeing and also seek suggestion from them regarding the steps to be taken by the government to ensure safety and security while their stay in different states for study.
While interacting with the students in the University, Minister asked the students to be the ambassadors of the J&K state and help in breaking the negative stereotype about Kashmir build by a section of media.
He said during interactions with students in various states he came to know that the students are the primary sufferers of the negative image being portrayed of J&K by blowing minor issues out of proportion and that students need to act ambassadors of peace in the respective states they are studying.
Abdul Haq said studying outside their state can be a blessing in disguise as students get to know more people and diverse cultures and help in removing negative stereotypes thereby bridging the gaps and bringing the people together. He said once the people talk to each other all the negative notions against each other gets demolished and real picture come to fore. He said that is the only way that the people of Kashmir can counter the narrative being constructed by a section of media.
Abdul Haq appealed media to be part of the solution instead of fuelling trouble by facilitating in bridging gap thereby connecting people of the country and helping in addressing the alienation of Kashmiri youth.
During the interaction the students discussed threadbare various hardships being faced by the students outside the state viz a viz their security, scholarships and other related issues.
During discussion students raised a demand of setting up of a special helpline in the State through which the students can contact the government in case they need any help. Responding to the suggestions given by the students, Minister assured that all the measures/steps will be taken in safeguarding the interest of the students who are studying outside the State. He also shared personal phone numbers with the students and asked them to contact him directly in case they need any assistance of the government.
Terming the safety and security of the students studying outside the state as the prime responsibility of the government, Minister said the government under the leadership of Mehbooba Mufti is committed to provide all the support to the students who are studying outside the state so that they feel safe and secure while their stay in their respective colleges.