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Education in jeopardy in Kashmir
11/2/2016 10:46:04 PM
Early Times Report
JAMMU, Nov 2: Hizbul Mujahideen dreaded commander was killed by security forces on July 8. Ever since then, Kashmir has been witnessing unrest. Kashmir remained under curfew for most of the period during all these days of unrest. Curfew had to be imposed as the situation in the Valley was such. Unruly elements took recourse to violent methods, attacked police, army, CRPF and symbols of Indian state. They defied the state authority and the government acted. The result was everything in Kashmir came to a grinding halt. In between, irrelevant political players and some civil society members sought intervention of the separatists so that at least semblance of normalcy restored in the affected Valley, but with no result.
As a matter of fact, things further deteriorated as the separatists instead of seeing the reason sought to further muddy waters hoping they would succeed in ousting India from Kashmir. The Valley started witnessing the burning of schools, most of them government-run.
According to one figure, at least 27 schools have been burned down and the process continues unabated. It is not a phenomena limited to one town or village. Many villages and towns across the Valley witnessed schools being converted into rubbles.
Paradoxically, none has claimed responsibility for the burning of the schools or senseless attacks on schools. As for the government, it has blamed the separatists. And as for the separatists and out on the limb parties like the NC and the Congress, they have accused the government of not arresting the trend or not protecting the schools against the arsonists.
The worst aspect of the whole situation is that no separatist has condemned the acts of violence and attacks on schools outright. They stand thoroughly exposed. It was the J&K High Court which took suo motto notice of the trend and asked the state government to ensure that no school was burned down. New Delhi has also acted. Both the Prime Minister and the Home Minister have taken cognizance of the issue and asked the J&K Government to open the schools as early as possible so that the future of thousands of students was saved and secured.
Finally, the state government has also woken up to the need of arresting the trend. It has set up a committee which will look into whole issue. The Education Minister has launched a frontal attack on the separatists and accused them of taking Kashmir to stone-age. The police too has acted to an extent. It has reportedly identified nearly 40 persons who, it think, were behind the move aimed at destroying the education infrastructure in the Valley.
The disruption in the academic calendar in the Valley is the immediate fallout of the prevailing communal unrest. Resumption of the normal life is imperative to end this disruption. No to do so would be only to further motivate many Kashmiri parents to send their wards out of Kashmir to acquire education. Reports suggest that already about 10,000 Kashmiri youth have migrated out of the Valley and sought admission in the Jammu schools and colleges, mostly private run.
Putting education system back on the rail is a difficult task given the prevailing situation in Kashmir. In fact, it is its litmus test. The government has to establish its authority and send a right message to the seditionists that it was in complete command and that it will not swallow anything non-sense. The very credibility of the state government is linked to the resumption of academic calendar.
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