With high-speed internet censored, closure of Iqbal Library at KU since August 2019 adds to woes of scholars, students

Srinagar: Thousands of Kashmir University students are left in lurch as the varsity has failed to resume the services of Allama Iqbal library since August 2019.

In August 2019, library was closed soon after government ordered closure of all educational institutions across the valley followed by the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcating the erstwhile state into two union territories contrlled directly by a New Delhi appointed regime.

Later, after three months, education in universities and colleges was resumed but the library was still closed.

In March, another lockdown was announced after the outbreak of novel coronavirus for six months, however, after six months, activities in colleges, university and government offices across Kashmir were resumed but Kashmir University has failed to reopen the facility of library even after one year.

Kashmir University’s Allama Iqbal library provides access to the students and scholars of the varsity and also grants books to students for certain period of time.

An official at the Kashmir University said on the condition of anonymity that the varsity has resumed work in every department but Iqbal library stands closed since August 2019.

Students say that they are already facing hardships with the unavailability of high-speed internet and the closure of Iqbal library adds to their difficulties.

“I am researching in social work and I recently visited the library for study material but I was told that the library is closed and I cannot take books. I am not able to study since I don’t have any study material available,” said Zahid Ahmad, PhD scholar in social work department of KU.

He said that internet is of no use due to the censored speed and library is the only option to get study material, but the university has not reopened it yet.

“We are following all the COVID SOPs to mitigate the spread of the disease and when KU has resumed work fully in other departments then why have they kept library closed. Students will follow all the SOPs in library as well,” he added.

Javid Ahmad, a post graduate student of Urdu department said, “I am not allowed to enter the library and I am not given access to take study material. How will we study? We don’t even have high speed internet and most of the students rely on library books.”

Chief Librarian Kashmir University, Professor Irshad Ahmad told Free Press Kashmir that due to the pandemic the library is still closed, however, they are granting access to the scholars for taking material who have written permission from their head of the departments.

“I don’t know when the library will be fully functional. The decision has to be taken by the higher officials. The students who have been denied access to the library for material can contact me for any help,” he added.


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