Staffers from four major institutions have formed an alliance to resist the Jammu Kashmir Public Universities Bill-2022. A joint action committee has been created by the officers of the staff groups of the University of Jammu, the University of Kashmir, SKUAST-Jammu, and SKUAST-Kashmir.
The Jammu Kashmir administration had recently proposed that the appointments in Universities across Jammu Kashmir shall be open to all Indian citizens, irrespective of caste, creed, region, or religion to participate, subject to eligibility criteria and any shortlisting processes, to participate in the selection process.
The new bill says that it shall be the duty of the Jammu Kashmir Public Service Commission to hold and conduct an Eligibility test at the Jammu Kashmir level in such subjects or subjects as may be prescribed.
The bill also has proposed that the Lieutenant Governor shall be the Chancellor of the University and provides absolute power to the Chancellor’s “powers and functions” act of the bill.
The Chancellor, when present, shall preside over the Convocation of the University, Chair the Governing Council of the University, and may issue directions to the Vice-Chancellor to convene the meeting of any authority of the University for specific purposes, whenever he deems necessary.
Several Faculty and other staff members from major universities of the region have publicly in defiance of the bill and demanded that the bill to be rolled back news agency reported.
The Bill, according to Prof Pankaj Srivastava, president of the Jammu University Teachers’ Association, is a blow to the entire concept of university autonomy. The joint action group opposed the concept of inter-university transfers, claiming that professors must dedicate a significant amount of time to research in addition to classroom teaching. “The research culture will disintegrate,” Prof Srivastava said.
Vikas Sharma, president of the Teaching Association of SKUAST-Jammu, was quoted by the Tribune as saying, ” The admin should do all possible to protect autonomy in order to promote the brave growth of new ideas.”
The joint committee intends to highlight the Bill’s “drawbacks” on social media and through protests.