Coming down heavily on groups involved in burning down of schools in Kashmir Valley, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has asserted that the state government will take necessary steps to identify and punish those who are behind it.
She had earlier alleged that separatists were not allowing schools in the Kashmir Valley to function because they wanted a new generation of uneducated youths who can pelt stones and can be used as “cannon fodder”.
She said the separatists were exploiting children from the poor families by instigating them to attack army camps, police stations and CRPF camps, while their own children were safe.
The recent attacks on schools is clearly a follow up of the pattern that was used by Taliban in Afghanistan, which destroyed hundreds of girls’ schools, and turned schools into madrassas, imparting religious education as sanctioned under Wahhabi Islam.
During the ongoing unrest following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces, as many as 31 schools and 110 government buildings have been damaged in Kashmir. Out of these, 25 were government-run schools, two private and four run by trusts or other social organisations.
For over four months now, there has been no class work in any school in the valley. Of the 10 districts of the Valley, Kulgam in South Kashmir has been the worst affected.
The continued closure of schools has been worrying parents, especially of children studying at the 10+2 level, whose final exams were to be conducted in October-November.
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court last week took suo moto cognisance of the incidents and directed the state government to ensure that the schools are protected. The court reminded the government that schools were “temples of learning” and termed those burning down schools as the “mysterious enemies of education.”
BJP leader and spokesman G V L Narsimha Rao said, “This is clearly an attempt to scare away children and youth and to ensure that they are available to protest. The state government and local authorities are dealing with this issue on a high priority and we hope this problem of law and order will be put to rest quickly.”
The Centre had last week asked the Mehbooba Mufti-led state government to check such attempts and make efforts for the reopening of schools which have been closed since July 9.