An investigative report by Tehelka SIT reveals how Pakistan’s two-decade old policy to admit Kashmiri students in its professional courses is being exploited by Hurriyat leaders.
For over two decades, the Pakistan government has been providing a special quota for the students of Jammu and Kashmir in all its professional courses, in especially medical and engineering colleges. Students from Jammu and Kashmir are broadly classified in two categories: [a] those applying for admission under foreign students seats through the ministry of education, Pakistan, and [ b ] the students applying for admission under the scholarship programme. The students applying through foreign students seats have to pay the normal fee like any other foreign student pays. But under the scholarship programme, the students are provided 100 per cent scholarship, free accommodation and per diem. The students, whose parents or close relatives have been killed by the security forces in Kashmir or have “suffered at the hands of Indian forces” are given preference for seats under the scholarship programme. Every year, around 50 students go to Pakistan under the scholarship programme for MBBS alone while a similar number of students get admission in other courses.
While there is a cut-off percentage for admission to various courses, the recommendation for the students under the scholarship programme is given by the Hurriyat leaders. Over the years, both factions of the separatist conglomerate Hurriyat Conference have been issuing recommendation letters to the students for admission in professional courses in Pakistan. And over the years, there have been allegations that some Hurriyat leaders demand money from the students before issuing them a recommendation letter, and that the basic criteria set by the Pakistan government is being flouted. There were allegations that even wards of some police officers have managed recommendation letters from the separatist leaders. As Kashmir has a very few professional colleges, the students would move to foreign countries for studying medicine – first to Russia, and now to Bangladesh and Pakistan. The courses in Pakistan are relatively cheap and valued more, and after Hurriyat recommendation letters become 100 per cent free for students going under the scholarship programme. Therefore, the number of students going to Pakistan has increased.
The National Investigation Agency [NIA] in a chargesheet filed in the terror funding case in 2018 had said that Pakistan is offering scholarship to Kashmiri students to prepare a generation which will be inclined towards Pakistan. Most of the youth on student visa in the neighbouring country were relatives of militants. “During the course of investigation, it was ascertained that students who were proceeding to Pakistan on student visas were either relatives of ex-militants who had indulged in various anti-national activities and had migrated to Pakistan or they were known to Hurriyat leaders”, it said. The probe agency also claimed that their visa applications were recommended to the Pakistan high commission in New Delhi by the various Hurriyat leaders.
“ This shows a triangular nexus wherein the terrorists, the Hurriyat and the Pakistan establishment are the three verticles and they are ostensibly patronizing the Kashmir students in order to prepare a generation of doctors and technocrats in Kashmir who will have leanings towards Pakistan,” the NIA said in the chargesheet, published at various media platforms. The NIA had seized a document from the house of Hurriyat leader Nayeem Khan wherein he recommends a student for admission in a “standard medical college” in Pakistan because “her family has remained committed to the freedom struggle through thick and thin”.
The Jammu and Kashmir police in August 2021 unearthed a major nexus wherein students from Kashmir valley were sent to Pakistan to pursue an MBBS degree and the money taken from their parents was used to fund terror activities across the Union Territory. “The funds used after selling these MBBS seats were used to fund terror in the valley. Evidence also reveals that this money was also used to organize stone pelting”, the Director-General of Jammu and Kashmir Police, Dilbagh Singh said.
Sources revealed that in 2020, the counter intelligence wing of Kashmir registered a case after it received information through reliable sources that several unscrupulous persons including some Hurriyat leaders were hand in glove with some educational consultancies and are selling seats in MBBS and other professional courses in various colleges and universities in Pakistan.
Hurriyat on the other hand have always denied its leaders were involved in “selling” admissions in medical colleges of Pakistan for financing terror in Kashmir. The amalgam said that it wants to put on record that “this is completely unfounded, and can be verified by those students or parents whom they have recommended, many among them being from economically weaker sections”.
To unravel the truth, TEHELKA carried out investigation and discovered that agents and nonprofits linked to the Hurriyat are found to be selling medical seats purportedly reserved for Kashmiri students in Pakistani colleges. TEHELKA Investigation discovered what appears to be a well-oiled system executing cheating in test and a transnational education fraud in connivance with Pakistani colleges and separatists and their aides on this side of the border. In this chain, Hurriyat agent Sajjad Mir from Kashmir travelled down to Delhi to offer Pakistani medical slots to TEHELKA’s undercover reporter probing the suspected racket. Immediately after meeting TEHELKA’s undercover reporter in a five star hotel of Delhi, Sajjad Mir narrated his plan of admission to the reporter.
Sajjad Mir…. “Abhi chaar admission bhejo aap”
Tehelka…. “ Chaar ladke”
SAJJAD MIR….. “Percent eighty plus honey chahiye”.
TEHELKA….. “Twelth mein …eighty plus”.
SAJJAD MIR…. “Neet qualify hona chahiye”.
TEHELKA…. “Neet qualify hoga pakistan ke liye”.
SAJJAD MIR….. “Pakistan ke liye”.
TEHELKA…… “Kharcha sir”
SAJJAD MIR….. “ 15 -16 lakh”.
TEHELKA…. “matlab ye apko dena padega”.
SAJJAD MIR….. “Ji”
TEHELKA…. “Matlab ek candidate ka 15 lakh rupay”
SAJJAD MIR…. “Ek candidate ka….pichley saal ka yehi rate tha. Is saal ka to pata nahin abhi to NEET abhi hua hai.. ek do lakh extra hongey ya kam hongey ya barabar hongey, abhi pata nahin.”
TEHELKA….. “Procedure kya hai ek baar zara samjha dijiye”.
SAJJAD MIR…. “Form bharna hai. Wo jo hamarey bandey hai wo online bhej dengey waha par. Waha se list niklega exam ke liye…jo select hoga usko exam dena hai. Waha par fail hongey paas hongey unka admission hona hi hona hai. Wo certified hai agar exam main fail hoga to usko padney nahin de wahan par…agar hamara banda fail bhi ho jayega tab bhi selection hai”
[“It will cost 15-16 lakh [rupees per head]. Our people will fill forms, which will be sent online. They [the Pakistanis] will release the list of candidates for an entrance exam. Whether they [the candidates] fail or pass, they will be admitted. We have an understanding with them. Even if a candidate fails, he/she won’t be disqualified. He/she will be selected. Send four candidates’ applications for now. They should have scored 80 percent and qualified NEET”, Sajjad Mir explained. ]
Sajjad Mir explains how Kashmiris are benefitted in Pakistan for MBBS admission
SAJJAD MIR…. “Wahan to wo karte hi nahin hai, Kashmiriyon ka wo deal hai, unke liye fail-wail ka masla hi nahin hai”.
TEHELKA… “Pakistan mein”.
SAJJAD MIR…… “Pakistan mein wo benefit dekhte hai Kashmiriyon ka”.
SAJJAD MIR….. “ Kashmiriyon ko ye benefits hai”.
[“In Pakistan, Kashmiris enjoy the benefit of not getting failed. This is the deal Kashmiris have with Pakistan. Pakistan also see how Kashmiris can be benefitted” , Sajjad Mir explained]
As the talks go on, Sajjad Mir told TEHELKA’s investigative reporters about his mode of payment for the admission in Pakistan.
TEHELKA…. “Paisa kab dena hai advance”.
SAJJAD MIR….. “50 percent pehley dene jab form bharengey. 50 percent tab jab wahan se [Pakistan se] call letter ayengey uskey baad”.
TEHELKA….. “Matlab 16 lakh ka 8 lakh abhi de doon, remaining jab wahan”.
SAJJAD MIR…. “Jab wahan se call letter ayengey jisko jaana ho us time.. wo to confirm admission hota hai”.
[Half the payment in hard cash during the form filling exercise and the remainder when the call letter arrives from Pakistan,” Sajjad Mir explained.]
Sajjad Mir further explains that for admission, he will charge in cash.
TEHELKA…. “Aap ka kya system hai paisey leney ka”.
SAJJAD MIR…. “Hum to cash hi lete hai”.
TEHELKA…. “Cash lete hai poora 100 percent”.
SAJJAD MIR ….. “Haan”
[“Sajjad Mir explained that he always take money in cash for the MBBS admission in Pakistan. So he will take 100 percent cash from us too”. ]
Now, Sajjad Mir reveals how Hurriyat people write recommendation letters for the Kashmiri students for the MBBS admission in Pakistan.
TEHELKA….. “ To kya Hurriyat ke log chitthi wagareh likhte hai”.
SAJJAD MIR…. “Kaun”.
TEHELKA…. “Hurriyat ke log admission wagareh ke liye Pakistan mein MBBS ke liye”.
SAJJAD MIR…. “ Unhoney apne agents rakhey hue hai”.
[“Sajjad Mir said that Hurriyat people have kept their agents to bring students for the admission in Pakistan”]
When asked how Hurriyat leaders are writing recommendation letters when most of its top leaders are in jail after scrapping of Article 370, Sajjad Mir explained the Hurriyat system, as to how Hurriyat second and third layers of leaders work in the absence of its top leadership.
TEHELKA….. “Ye sab to jail main hain, ye chitthi kaisey likhengey Hurriyat wale”.
SAJJAD MIR…. “Inka system hota hai. Aap band ho aapke baad main hoon. Ye group hota hai. Tanzeem ek bandey par hoti hai?”.
SAJJAD MIR… “Jo tanzeem hoti hai na wahan na wahan to 10-15 tanzeem chalti hai, bees-bees log kaam karte hai. Aapke followers tees-tees hotey hai. Aap band ho jaogey doosra hoga. Doosra band ho jayega to teesra hota hai. Jiske contact main rehte hai. Kaam to chalta rehta hai”.
TEHELKA….. “Unke signature?”.
SAJJAD MIR…. “Wo problem nahin hai. Unko pata hai na ye banda hamara hai.”
TEHELKA…. “Achcha Pakistan waley doosrey bandey ko jaantey hotey hai”.
SAJJAD MIR….. “ Haan sarey bandey ko jaantey hain jo group main hota hai”.
TEHELKA….. “Matlab koi bhi chitthi likh de wo maan lengey”.
SAJJAD MIR…. “ Haan”.
[“There are many people in Hurriyat. It is a big group with many followers. If one goes to jail, second works. And if second goes to jail, third works. The organisation works like this. There is no issue of Pakistan not knowing their second and third ranks leaders. They are aware of all leaders working in the group”, Sajjad Mir explained.]
Sajjad Mir further explains that all our students will get admission in Pakistan’s government medical colleges and not private. And the five-year MBBS course will be free of cost for the students under the scholarship scheme.
SAAJAD MIR…. “Wahan government medical college mein admission ho jayega”.
TEHELKA…. “Achcha, government medical college mein”.
SAJJAD MIR…. “Government medical college mein. Wahan private nahin hai”.
TEHELKA….. “Pakistan mein”.
SAJJAD MIR…. “Pakistan mein government medical college mein admission ho jayega, free of cost mein, wahan kuch nahin”.
TEHELKA…. “ Arey Wah”.
SAJJAD MIR…. “Wahan kuch nahin dena hai, paanch rupay tak nahin dena hai, wahan free hai. Agar wahan se scholarship ho gayi, wahan se hi paisey milenge. Usko kapdo ke liye bhi paisey wahin se aatey hai. Agar usko kapdey khareedney hongey na, to wahin se paisey ayengey, wo bhi paisey add hai usmein”.
TEHELKA….. “OK. Ye paanch saal ka course hai ya chaar saal ka”.
SAJJAD MIR…. “Paanch”.
TEHELKA…. “Paanchon saal free hai”.
SAJJAD MIR… “paanchon saal”.
TEHELKA…. “Koi fee nahin”.
SAJJAD MIR…. “Kuch nahin”.
TEHELKA…. “Aisa kyon”.
SAJJAD MIR…. “Kashmir ke liye rakha hai.Haalat-walat kharaab hai, wo hai”.
[“Admission will be done in government medical colleges there, not private. Nothing else is to be paid there. Not even five rupees. Everything is free. In fact, they [students ] will get money if given scholarship. They will get money even for their clothes. It is a five year course. All five years will be free. They don’t have to pay their fee even. This is a special arrangement for the Kashmiris, because of the prevailing situation in the state”. Sajjad Mir explained ]
Sajjad Mir confesses that the entire scheme is a money-minting exercise for people like him and the separatists.
TEHELKA… “Pakistan main quota hai jo yahan shaheed hue hai”.
SAJJAD MIR…. “Isliye business chal raha hai na, main kya bol raha hoon. Ye saara business hai. Dukaan kholkar rakha hai”.
TEHELKA….. “Ye bhi Hurriyat ke jariye jaate hai”.
SAJJAD MIR…. “Hurriyat ke through”.
TEHELKA…. “Tabhi aap keh rahe hai ye bhi business hai”.
SAJJAD MIR… “Haan ye business hai. Main bol raha hoon. Ye saara business hi hai ye. Saara khel hai logon ko bewakoof bananey ke liye”.
[ “What I am saying is that it’s all business. We have opened a shop. It’s a game to fool people”, Sajjad Mir admitted.]
“ They [the candidates] go through Hurriyat. Right ?” The reporter probed.
“Through the Hurriyat”. Mir replied.
Tehelka reporter now meets Assad Siddiqui, who runs a non-profit organization in Kashmir. Assad came to Delhi to meet Tehelka’s reporter. This meeting was held in the five star hotel of Delhi. Assad confesses that he had facilitated the process in exchange for anything between Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 5 lakh.
TEHELKA…. “Pakistan karatey they aap”.
Assad Siddqui….. “ Haan”.
TEHELKA….. “ Ab nahin kara rahe hain medical mein”.
Assad Siddiqui…. “Medical mein MBBS karte they, medical mein. Aur free mein karwatey they. Koi cost nahin”.
TEHELKA…. “ Wo kaisey”.
Assad Siddiqui…. “Actually hamara thoda bahut channel tha unke saath jo Kashmiriyon ko muft admission karwatey they”.
TEHELKA…. “ Pakistan main…OK”.
Assad Siddiqui…. “ Haan”.
TEHELKA…. “OK.. to unse kitna charge letey they aap” ?.
Assad Siddiqui….. “Wo apne oopar tha, matlab free jab sab kuch ho raha hai apne oopar tha. 2.5 lakh, 3 lakh, 5 lakh lena.”
[ “Actually, we had some channel to facilitate admissions of Kashmiris free of cost in Pakistan”, Assad said. “How much would you charge them?”, the reporter asked. “It all depended on us. After all, everything else was free. So it could be 2.5 lakh, 5 lakh”. ]
Now Assad explains as to how the top Hurriyat leader aide helped in writing recommendation letters for Pakistan embassy for the Kashmiri students’ admission in Pakistan medical colleges.
Assad Siddiqui….. “Aapka ya kisi ka admission karana hai jaisey aapka. Jo Hurriyat leader ka banda tha”.
TEHELKA….. “ Haan-Haan”.
Assad Siddiqui….. “Matlab uska ek jo banda kaam sambhaalta tha, usko bhi laalach tha, usko bhi paisey ka laalach tha”.
TEHELKA…. “ Kashmir mein”.
Assad Siddiqui….. “Haan to bas aaraam se kaam ho jaata tha”.
TEHELKA…. “Wo chitthi likhta hai”.
Assad Siddiqui…. “ Haan wo chitthi likhta hai”.
TEHELKA…. “Chitthi kis ko likhta tha wo, chitthi kis ko likhta tha wo”.
Assad Siddiqui…. “Wo chitthi likhta tha wo, matlab wahan Pakistan mein.”
TEHELKA…. “Embassy ke liye”.
Assad Siddiqui…. “Haan”.
TEHELKA…. “ Paisey aap letey they students se”.
Assad Siddiqui…. “Haan, lekin ye unko bhi nahin pata chalta tha paisey hum lete hai. Theek hai na, hum bol dete they matlab, hum dikha dete they hum bhi karte hain. Jo banda hai usko maalom tha hamara unka kuch chal raha hai”.
TEHELKA…. “ Acchha”.
Assad Siddiqui…. “ Haan”.
TEHELKA…. “Uskey baad wo paisey leta hoga” ?
Assad Siddqui…. “Haan uske baad wo paisey leta tha”.
TEHELKA…. “Aap kitna lete they chaar lakh rupay”.?
Assad Siddiqui…. “Haan chaar main kaam kar dete they”.
TEHELKA…. “ Students ki padai free main hoti thi” ?
Assad Siddiqui…. “Haan”.
[“The aide of top Hurriyat leader used to write recommendation letters for Pakistan embassy. He was handling everything. He was also expecting some money. So the work would be done smoothly. The top leader knew we were up to something. And his aide was taking money after writing recommendation letters. I used to charge 4 lakh rupees from the students, and their MBBS course was free of cost,” said Siddiqui]