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IIT graduates bridge education gap in Kashmir




Kolkata, May 17: Facing off-and-on internet bans, curfews and inaccessibility to books in Jammu and Kashmir, a bunch of IIT graduates have got together to help students and engineering aspirants realise their dreams.

Through their RISE organisation, Mubeen Masudi (IIT-Bombay), Imbesat Ahmad (IIT- Kharagpur), Salman Shahid (Chemical Engineering, IIT-Kharagpur) and Saifi from the Delhi Technical University are “bridging the gap between opportunities and the students in Kashmir”.

“Here in Kashmir, no matter which stream students belong to or what career they aspire for, they lack proper information and counselling. They lack guidance. Information has not flown here as it has in other cities.

“We provide the right information at the right time to help students prepare for entrance exams, give their ideas shape and facilitate them with best educational tools,” RISE co-founder Ahmad, M.S., Physics, IIT-Kharagpur, told IANS from Srinagar.

Since starting out in 2012 with four students, they currently have 200 under their wing. Last year, RISE sent four students to IITs and this year, 40 have qualified for NITs.

“We could have had a far better result but last year’s curfew came in the way. Currently, we are targeting engineering institutes like IITs and NITs. Last year, one student got selected by Princeton University and one by the University of Washington. Net ban, curfews, strikes, etc., make things difficult. Book shops are shut and ecommerce sites do not work here,” Ahmad said.

“For exams like Scholastic Aptitude Test for admission to US colleges, you need the internet,” he pointed out.

They even survived the ravages of the 2014 floods.

“We had set up a library here with our books. We lost around 4,000 books. For over a month, our activities were crippled. What happens is students lose their morale because they already feel that a student in any other city has a head start over them and when classes are cancelled, it kills precious time.

“Once a student feels he or she is lagging, it is important to encourage them to persevere and that is where our role becomes important,” said Ahmad, who hails from Patna.

It all began for Ahmad when he visited Kashmir for an education workshop and realised the education scenario in India’s northernmost state was in dire straits. He came in touch with Masudi who hails from the state and they decided to join hands to reverse the situation.

“Last year we had 110 students and for 40, our services were totally free. For the rest, the cost varies from Rs 10,000 to Rs 35,000 for a coaching period ranging from four months to two years. The charges depend on how much they are ready to pay, what their financial capacity is. Money is not an issue here. Parents are ready to pay. There are people who can pay 10 times this but even at this price you can’t get someone from IIT or NIT to come and teach here. Money is there but resources aren’t,” he said.

“There are around 30 per cent girls among our students. The ratio is pretty good here. There is aspiration among the students and we are trying to give them a boost,” Ahmad added.

By Sahana Ghosh



Four Maharashtra villagers attempt suicide in revenue office



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Parbhani (Maharashtra), April 19 (IANS) Four villagers attempted to commit suicide on Thursday by consuming pesticides in a local revenue office in Maharashtra’s Parbhani district, an official said. All are now out of danger.

The incident took place at the tehsildar’s office in Manvat sub-district.

Hailing from Manoli village, the four, identified as Laxman Shinde, Datta Kadam, Shagir Sheikh and Chandrakant Talekar, had submitted a petition of their demands 10 days ago and threatened that if these were not redressed, they would resort to the extreme action of “mass suicide”.

They were immediately rushed to a hospital in Parbhani for treatment and are now out of danger, said Collector P. Siva Sankar.

He said the main demand of the village pertains to water supply which is being handled by the Maharashtra Jal Pradhikaran (MJP) under a regional supply scheme for eight villages implemented since 2015.

“However, since over a year, the villagers have not paid their water taxes amounting to around Rs 1.1 million and hence water supply was stopped by MJP. But we have made alternative temporary arrangements till the issue is sorted out,” Siva Sankar told IANS.

Besides, he said the villagers had made allegations about some bogus minor irrigation dams in the region, which is now being investigated by the authorities.

While Shinde, Kadam and Sheikh were discharged after treatment, while Talekar is under observation.


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Minor tribal girl raped by auto driver in Odisha



rape-minor girl

Bhubaneswar, April 19: A minor tribal girl was allegedly raped by an auto-rickshaw driver in Thakurmunda area of Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district, police said on Thursday.

News agency IANS quoted police as saying, the girl was raped by an auto driver when she was returning home with her family after attending a religious event late on Wednesday.

Since the accused was known to the family, after dropping them at their house, he took the girl to a secluded spot on the pretext of parking his vehicle and raped her.

The family lodged a complaint on Thursday after which the auto driver has been detained.

Angry locals blocked the Karanjia-Anandpur road by burning tyres, demanding action against the culprit.


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Sisodia calls Delhi LG ‘dictator’



Manish Sisodia
Manish Sisodia . (File Photo: IANS)

New Delhi, April 19 (IANS) Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Thursday called Lt. Governor Anil Baijal a “dictator” and accused him of running a “parallel government” in the capital.

Sisodia’s outburst came after Baijail chaired a meeting to set up CCTV cameras in the city.

“LG Sir, please don’t be a dictator. This is an attempt to run a parallel government in Delhi. It is illegal. You don’t have power to call meeting on issues under elected government’s domain,” Sisodia tweeted.

He added that under the Constitution, the Lt. Governor could only express “difference of opinion” on decisions taken by the elected government. “Please respect the Constitution.”

“Chaired law and order meeting on current status of CCTV cameras in Delhi… Directed to have an inter-agency group to formulate a SOP to have uniformity in installation and address issues of privacy, security, feed-sharing, integration and optimum utilisation,” Baijal said.


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