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The Madhya Pradesh government has made character certificates from the police mandatory for Kashmiri students seeking admissions to colleges and universities in the central Indian state.
The extra-ordinary order, departing from the established practice of students being asked to furnish such testimonials only from their previous educational institutions, comes several months after the union home ministry issued an advisory to all states forbidding harassment of Kashmiris working or studying outside the valley. Though reports of police and security agencies hounding Kashmiris in other parts of the country, including capital New Delhi, have been common for the past two decades, valley students so far had been spared the ignominy of being formally treated at par with criminal's en masse, a deficiency the Madhya Pradesh government has now corrected. Despite the union home ministry’s advisory, the situation has changed little for Kashmiris living elsewhere in India, with even leaders in the National Conference, which shares power with the Congress in Jammu and Kashmir, admitting that students, professionals and businessmen from the valley continued to be targets of hate-mongers in other states. In Madhya Pradesh particularly, the right-wing BJP was learnt to have openly joined in the persecution of Kashmiris, making it perhaps the first state where a major political party is publicly engaged in a campaign of spite and prejudice against Muslims from the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The government here has apparently had no impact on the political leadership in Madhya Pradesh which has gone ahead and issued a patently discriminatory order despite the former’s vehement opposition. Valley students aspiring for admissions in MP colleges and universities have been hit hard by the move, their task now difficult several times over, given the time-consuming nature of the police verification process. A group of Kashmiri aspirants seeking admission to the Rani Durgawati University in MP said that clearing the entrance examination for the varsity’s M.Phil courses had availed them of nothing, as their academic careers now depended solely on whether the Jammu and Kashmir police gave them a clean bill of health in time. The varsity has threatened to cancel their admissions if they do not produce character certificates from the police within one week, the students said. "If the Madhya Pradesh government regards us as militants, it should deny us admission without mincing words," they said, urging authorities in Jammu and Kashmir to take the matter up with the central Indian state.
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