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IIT graduates bridge education gap in Kashmir

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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

IANS

Cities

Bihar: 9 killed, several others injures as a bolero van runs over School children in Muzaffarpur

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Muzaffarpur Accident (Photo-ANI)

Nine school students died in a road accident in Muzzafarpur of Bihar after a speeding SUV car hit them.

Almost 14 other are reported injured in a road accident at Minapur of Muzaffarpur in Bihar. The students were crossing the road while a speeding bolero van hit them.

“All the injured said to be around 20 in number, have been rushed to the Shri Krishna Medical College and Hospital for treatment. The condition of some of them was stated to be critical,” he said.

The MLA of the area has alleged that the driver of the van was drunk. Whereas Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has announced Rs 4 Lakh each as ex-gratia to the families of the deceased.

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Light rain, snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir

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Srinagar, Feb 24: Light rain in the plains and snowfall in the higher reaches occurred in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday. The Met said the weather will improve Sunday onwards.

Worries of an impending dry summer have been revisiting the people as no major snowfall occurred in the valley during this winter.

The minimum temperatures continued their rising trend across the state.

The minimum temperature was 5.8 in Srinagar, while it was 2.7 in Pahalgam and minus two in Gulmarg.

Leh town of Ladakh region recorded minus three as the minimum.

Jammu city recorded 15.3, Katra 13.8, Batote 7.3, Banihal 7.2, Bhaderwah 6.4 and Udhampur 14 degrees Celsius.

IANS

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Kerala Police arrest 2 in tribal youth murder case

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A selfie of a man with mentally cahllenged tribal youth
A selfie of a man with mentally cahllenged tribal youth (Photo- Indian Express)

Palakkad ( Kerala) Feb 23: The Kerala Police on Friday arrested two of the seven suspects in the killing of a “mentally unfit” tribal youth a day ago, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.

The 27-year-old Adivasi youth, who was said to be “not of sound mind”, was beaten to death here by a lynch mob which had accused him of theft, according to the victim’s mother.

The turn of events on Thursday elicited strong response from across the state and country on Friday after a perpetrator of the beating posted a selfie taken just minutes before the crime.

Highlighting the police action, Vijayan in his Facebook post said: “I have instructed the state DGP to speed up the probe and take strict action in the case.”

“This heinous act is a blot on Kerala’s progressive society. But I want to assure you that strict action will be taken at the earliest against all the culprits to ensure that such crimes, especially against people from communities that were long marginalised, are not repeated.

“Kerala as a whole should stay extremely vigilant to ensure that we continue to remain and progress as a caring, cosmopolitan society,” added Vijayan.

The Chief Minister’s response was also prompted by a large number of twitter followers putting up messages like: “@CMOKerala… please take urgent action on this matter and bring the culprits in front of Justice.”

Speaking to the media here on Friday, Malli, mother of the slain youth Madhu, said: “It was yesterday (Thursday) evening that my son was beaten up by a group of people in the forest (near Attapadi-Agali) saying that he was a thief.

“Then he was handed over to the police and soon he developed complications. He was taken to a hospital, where he died. He is not a thief, instead he was not of sound mind,” said the grieving mother.

The entire episode was shot on a mobile and posted on social media.

Superstar Mammootty in his Facebook post said that none should address Madhu as a tribal.

“I will say that people killed my brother, as if one thinks as a human, Madhu is either a son or an younger or elder brother. None should call anyone a thief, if he does it to eat, as poverty is the creation of society,” said Mammootty.

State BJP spokesperson M.S. Kumar told the media that the state government should announce an ex-gratia payment of Rs 2.5 million as compensation.

“It’s very strange that the concerned minister (Minister for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes A.K. Balan) who hails from the same district failed to turn up at the tribal village to pacify them,” said Kumar.

It was only after actor-director Joy Mathew had posted the visuals on social media that various political leaders, including Vijayan, condemned the incident, early on Friday.

“This is some sort of a fascist Malayali psyche which has developed recently and has to be tackled. If the police wish to arrest me for sharing this video on social media, let them do that,” said Mathew.

The local tribal community are up in arms and have demanded that if the people behind the incident were not arrested, they would launch a protest and commenced the first round by staging a march in the locality.

State Minister Balan told the media: “Those who did it claim that this youth was a thief, but that’s their allegation.

“The state government will act very strongly and none who have done this would be spared. A magisterial probe will also be launched,” said Balan.

State Police chief Loknath Behra said that he has handed over the case to Thrissur Inspector General of Police and “everyone who had done this would be brought to book, as people have no right to take law into their hands”.

Madhu’s body has been taken for an autopsy to the Thrissur Medical College hospital and would then be brought to the village.

IANS

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