New Delhi: The Modi government is asking educational institutions across the country to ensure the safety of students from Kashmir following a backlash against them after last week’s Pulwama attack.
The Ministry of Human Resource Development is writing to all institutions covered under the Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS) meant for students from Jammu and Kashmir.
According to a rough estimate by the government, close to 20,000 Kashmiri students are studying outside the state. Around 8,000 students – belonging to Jammu, Leh and Kashmir regions – are part of the PMSSS.
Suspension and fears of attack
A handful of institutions even suspended some Kashmiri students who shared objectionable comments on social media following the terrorist attack that killed 40 CRPF soldiers last Thursday.
Some reports suggested that Kashmiri students were fleeing their hostels and taking refuge in shelters. ThePrint, however could not independently verify them.
Ensuring safety under PMSSS
According to officials, while there have been no complaints from students studying at universities covered under the PMSSS, the ministry is getting in touch with the institutions to make sure the students are safe.
“There have been no complaints from universities which are covered under our scheme. Currently there are close to 8,000 students enrolled in various education institutes under this scheme. Every year, for the last four years, 2,000 students on an average enroll with us,” said Anand Kumar, an official who works for PMSSS, which is managed by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).
“We are writing to all institutions covered under PMSSS asking them to make sure that Kashmiri students studying at their universities are safe,” Kumar added.
The PMSSS covers a certain number of colleges and universities that are spread across Delhi, Pune, Udaipur, Haryana and other areas. Students who apply through the scholarship scheme get funding depending upon their course choices. Students pursuing engineering get Rs 1.5 lakh, medical students get Rs 3 lakh and those pursuing general courses get Rs 30,000.
Most students enrolled under the scheme pursue engineering, nursing, medical and other professional courses.
The Jammu and Kashmir governor’s administration too reviewed the safety of students living outside the state.
This report has been updated to add quote by PMSSS official about communication sent to all institutions under the programme.