ABVP protests against JK Universities Bill, increase in retirement age

ABVP activists protesting against J&K Public Universities Bill at Jammu on Thursday. -Excelsior/Rakesh
ABVP activists protesting against J&K Public Universities Bill at Jammu on Thursday. -Excelsior/Rakesh

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, July 20: Up in arms against Jammu Kashmir Public Universities Bill-2022 and increase in the retirement age of university teachers, Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad held a strong protest demonstration outside Jammu University, here today.
Protesting ABVP activists alleged that the controversial Bill, which has been sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs by the Administration of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, undermines the autonomy of public universities and imposes unnecessary bureaucratic interference.
Shouting slogans and carrying placards, they demanded immediate withdrawal of the Bill as it infringes upon the autonomy of public institutions. While the National Education Policy supports granting financial, administrative and educational autonomy to universities, this bill aims to eliminate the independence of public universities in the Union Territories, they added.
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ABVP State Secretary, Akshi Billowria said, “the Public Universities Bill – 2022 is an unwelcome intrusion that threatens the autonomy of our esteemed public universities in Jammu and Kashmir. ABVP stands united in its opposition to this bill and calls for its immediate repeal. We will not hesitate to raise our voices and take to the streets if necessary, to protect the rights and aspirations of our students and academic community. The government must listen to the concerns of the people and uphold the principles of educational excellence and autonomy.”
She also drew attention towards purported quid pro quo between the Government and university teachers over the increase in the retirement age and the support of the teaching community for the bill.
“Such actions are alarming and undermine academic values. Initially, teachers’ organizations in Jammu and Kashmir opposed this bill. However, in a calculated move to influence their stance, the administration, shortly after introducing the Public Universities Bill – 2022, increased the retirement age of teachers from 62 years to 65 years. The conditional nature of this enhancement may pave the way for favoritism and nepotism on a large scale in the future,” said the ABVP leader.
Fearing that the high unemployment rate in Jammu and Kashmir would further worsen following increase in the retirement age, she appealed the Government to reconsider its decision over the retirement age for university professors.