Jamia aspirants from J-K concerned over removal of Srinagar as test centre

They say they will now have to spend thousands of rupees on travelling and accommodation in Delhi

New Delhi: Several students from Jammu and Kashmir aspiring to get admission to Jamia Millia Islamia are in a fix after the university allegedly removed Srinagar as an entrance exam centre.

They say they will now have to spend thousands of rupees on travelling and accommodation in Delhi to sit in the entrance test. Several students alleged that they were getting Delhi as the only option when filling out the application forms online for admission to most undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD programmes.

However, Jamia administration said the Srinagar Centre was not removed for all courses but had to be cancelled for some programmes as the number of applicants in that particular course was fewer than 50.

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The admission prospectus had listed seven test centres Thiruvananthapuram, Lucknow, Delhi, Patna, Kolkata, Srinagar and Guwahati. Students were allowed to opt for any of the centres. The prospectus had mentioned that if the number of applicants is either 49 or less, the test for that course will be held in Delhi.

Students say this is unfair and puts avoidable economic burden on them to book air tickets and hotels. They have urged Vice Chancellor Najma Akhtar to allow them to sit in entrance test at a centre in Srinagar.

“I have filled an application form for admission to an LLM programme and three applications for my sister in UG courses. There was no option for Srinagar. I cannot come to Delhi just for an entrance test. It will cost me over Rs 25,000 for travelling and accommodation,” Sameer Ahmed Sofia, 27, told PTI over phone from Srinagar.

“There are scores of students who share my concern. We have not received any communication why Srinagar was removed as the centre. I have asked many students whether their application forms showed Srinagar. All of them have said ‘no’,” he added.

Muneeb Ayub Bhatt, 25, has applied for a PhD course. His father is a carpenter and earns around Rs 400 per day.

“I have done my graduation and post-graduation from Srinagar. Now for a better opportunity and exposure, I want to come to Delhi. Why they are hindering our entry into Delhi? My father earns Rs 400 per day. He is the sole earning member and you are expecting me to come to Delhi to give an entrance test. Where would I stay and how will I manage the travel,” Bhatt said.

Hundreds of students from the Kashmir Valley appear for entrance tests across courses every year.

Jamia Millia Islamia provides reservation and relaxation under special provisions to candidates from Jammu and Kashmir. Their admission is considered over and above not exceeding two seats in the programmes offered by faculties.

The J&K Students Association said despite seats being reserved for students from the Union territory, the university has failed to provide exam centres in Srinagar, making it difficult for students to pursue their dreams.

With the entrance exams scheduled for the first week of June, the association has expressed concern that many students may miss the tests if a centre is not set up locally.

“It would not be possible for candidates staying in far-flung areas to take exams in Delhi due to the scorching heat and financial constraints. It is not possible for a majority of students to afford air tickets and book hotels. It will take them days to reach Delhi and students who have opted for more than one subject will have to stay longer,” the association’s national convenor Nasir Khuehami said.

The JMI has already notified exam schedules for different courses, but has not announced exam centres in Srinagar yet, despite repeated requests by students and parents, he said.

“The remoteness of exam centres should not be a barrier for Kashmiri students, particularly those from marginalised communities. For many, travelling to other states is an expensive and time-consuming process that they cannot afford,” Khuehami added.

Jamia Millia Islamia Registrar Nazim Husain Al-Jafri has termed the students’ allegations “baseless”, saying it takes lakhs of rupees to conduct entrance tests.

“We need to send examination papers, book a centre, hire examiners and supervisor, and send two individuals from the university. It costs us lakhs of rupees to conduct entrance tests. We have a rule that if the number of applicants is either 49 or less, the test of that programme will be conducted in Delhi,” Jafri said.

“It is not like only Srinagar centre has been cancelled. The cancellation has been done at other centres also. This has been notified also,” he added.

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