Tuesday, May 23, 2006

PoK students want seats in IIM/IITs!

Students of Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir have demanded reservation for them in India's elite educational institutions.

"We want quotas in the Indian Institute of Management, the Indian Institute of Technology and law colleges of India. India should not ignore us," said Shafquat Ali Inqlabi, a resident of Gilgit, told rediff.com.

Inqlabi and other 18 others are visiting India to participate in a conference organised by the New Delhi-based Institute for Conflict Management to discuss 'Alternative Futures' for Jammu and Kashmir on May 19-20.

Inqlabi says, "Indian maps always show Gilgit and Baltistan as part of India. The Constitution of India mentions that we are part of India. In your eyes, we are Indians and Pakistan has 'occupied' Indian territory. Then, why should we not get admissions in the IIMs and the IITs?" he says, adding, "I am an engineer, but now, I want to study law in the best of Indian law colleges. Help me get admission."

One of the demands made in a resolution unanimously passed by the conference -- which had the tacit support of Indian government -- says, 'The Government of India should provide openings in higher, professional and technical educational institutions to deserving students from Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir, who are denied necessary facilities for such education.'

Inqlabi, a political activist, says, "India should either accept us as Indians or give up claim on the territory."