Anger and confusion prevailed among aspirants regarding the fate of the JK Common Entrance Test scheduled to be held on May 14th and 15th due to the ambiguity over whether the state would adhere to SC ruling that made NEET the only eligibility and entrance test for MBBS, BDS and MDS courses.
Political parties and members of civil society have expressed anguish over the announcement and said that the judgement was not in favor of the youth of the state. PDP legislators have made it clear that the government will approach the Supreme Court and ask it to 'relook' at the state's inclusion in NEET on 'various grounds.'
National Conference criticized the government's delayed response to the issue and said that it should have pre-empted the situation. "The move is anti-youth and we will oppose it with all our might," NC General Secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar said. He stated that JK had made a special provision in 1999 to reserve 50 percent seats for women in MBBS. "This was to help our females rise and be able to serve. Now we will have some other women, who will not be from our state, occupying those seats," he said.
Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) State President Sat Sharma Saturday said that they will also take up the matter with party high command for grant of "relaxation" over the applicability of NEET to MBBS aspirants of JK State.
"When our state government approaches the Supreme Court to plead for grant of relaxation, we too will take up the matter with party high command," Sat Sharma told Greater Kashmir. However, he said the youth of JK can compete anywhere. "Now youth from our state are leading in IAS, IPS and other examinations."
Several educationists said that the move 'was a well planned attempt to dilute the special status of the state'. Sheikh Showkat, Head Department of Legal Studies, Central University of Kashmir, said the state needed to come clear on the issue. "If they have the will, they can very well scuttle it. After all, no law or Act can apply to J&K if the state does not adopt it as per our own Constitution," he said.
Siddiq Wahid, noted academician and ex-Vice Chancellor IUST, said that education standardization was a two-edged sword. "There is no denying the fact that we have been left behind due to many factors and to ask our students to compete at this level is unfair," he said. He stressed on the point that the 'extent to which the move eroded JK's special status' needed to be seen. "Education reforms are alright and thank you very much but education is our state's subject," he said.
Javid Iqbal, member of civil society, said the ruling did not provide students of JK a level playing field. "How can we force our students, battered by turmoil and other factors, to an arena where there are students who have so many advantages over them," he said.