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Sunday, October 30, 2016

24 schools burned down in 53 days of Burhan turmoil in Kashmir

Kulgam tops with 6 of the 13 schools torched in PDP’s stronghold of South Kashmir

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz


SRINAGAR, Oct 28: With hundreds of thousands of the students losing one full academic year due to the street turbulence, triggered off by the Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s death in an encounter with security forces on July 8, as many as 24 educational institutions have been burned down in Kashmir valley in the last 53 days. The separatists-sponsored shutdown without a single day of relaxation completed 112 days on Friday.

Officials claim — and many of the people seem to be its takers — that all the 24 schools have been set on fire and destroyed by the people who have not allowed the educational institutions operate this summer. Even the BJP leader Yashwant Sinha and his ‘track-3 team’ returned to New Delhi disappointed on Friday as they failed to convince the turmoil’s prime driver Syed Ali Shah Geelani to relent and let the schools function.

“Geelani sahab told the delegation that if the authorities are really concerned and bothered about the education, they should release all people including students, withdraw the cases against them, stop police vigil, put an end to the barbarism, night raids and allow peaceful demonstrations which will help in creating a conducive and peaceful atmosphere. Exams can be deferred so that students can get time to prepare and prove their worth on their own. It should be followed by concrete measures to address the root…”, said a statement issued by the Hurriyat.

In his statement the other day, Geelani had claimed that the people burning down schools, damaging private vehicles and looting banks were “culprits, hand-in-glove with Police and forces”. Their motive, according to him, was to malign the Kashmiris’ separatist movement with anti-social acts.

On the other hand, Mehbooba Mufti’s government has been, of late, desperately trying to conduct the annual examinations of the Class 10 and 12 as also to protect the school buildings. Kulgam Deputy Commissioner’s controversial circular has directed the hapless teachers to keep 24/7 vigil so as to ensure that nobody sets a school on fire.

Maximum number of the schools, precisely 6, have been torched in Kulgam district that falls in the PDP’s stronghold of South Kashmir where 13 schools have been reduced to rubble. Even the first incident on September 6 took place in the same district when unidentified persons torched the building of JNU Public High School at Mirhama. Population-wise, Kulgam is almost equally split among the old ideological rivals, Jamaat-e-Islami and CPI (Marxist), besides the PDP.

After JNU, three more private schools were set on fire in Anantnag (Hanfia Higher Secondary School Anantnag on September 19 and Iqra Public School on October 28) and Srinagar (Noorul Huda Educational Institute Zewan: October 12). All the remaining 20 are government schools. In all, one Primary school, 13 Middle schools, 6 High schools and 4 Higher Secondary schools have been fully destroyed.

In addition to the fully devastated 24 schools, four government schools have suffered partial damage at Batagund Mawar Kupwara (September 28), Katrusa Kulgam (October 12), Kawoosa Khalsa Budgam (October 23) and Daderhama Ganderbal (October 28).

Official statistics accessed by STATE TIMES mention that 9 schools were torched in September but the trend is picking up at an alarming speed as 15 schools have been destroyed fully and 3 more partially in October till 28th.

Of the 24 schools, 6 have been torched in Kulgam district, 5 in Anantnag, 3 in Baramulla, 2 each in Srinagar, Budgam and Shopian and one each in Ganderbal and Kupwara. Interestingly, the school dropout Burhan Wani’s own district of Pulwama is the only district in Kashmir where no educational institute has perished in fire during the turbulence.

Director School Education Kashmir Aijaz Ahmad Bhat said that the turmoil has affected all the 7,28,903 students upto Class 12 level in the Valley. “Four thousand students have suffered due to devastation of 22 students until yesterday. We have activated the watch and ward staff and asked them to keep a vigil under the supervision of concerned headmasters and Principals. We have suffered loss of Rs 5 crore and immediately we have no plans in hand for reconstruction of the gutted school buildings and accommodation of the students in private buildings”, Mr Bhat told STATE TIMES.


Schools torched in Kashmir during Burhan turmoil

Sep 06            JNU Public High School    Mirhama                               Kulgam

Sep 09            Govt Middle School             Chak-Sari, Pattan                Baramulla

Sep 10             Govt High School                 Botengo                                Anantnag

Sep 14             Govt Middle School              Kanjikullah                          Kulgam

Sep 19             Hanfia Higher Sec School  Anantnag                              Anantnag

Sep 19             Govt Middle School              Chattawattan, Vehil           Shopian

Sep 20            Govt Middle School               Rakh-e-Momin                    Anantnag

Sep 24             Govt Primary School            Theeru                                   Ganderbal

Sep 26             Govt High School                 Lilam, Vilgam                      Kupwara

Oct 09             Govt Middle School              Palpora, Pattan                    Baramulla

Oct 09             Govt Higher Sec School       Sumbal                                  Bandipore

Oct 12             Noorul Huda Edu Inst.         Zewan                                    Srinagar

Oct 15             Govt Middle School               Kachhdora                            Shopian

Oct 16             Govt High School                    Kanipora                              Kulgam

Oct 20             Govt Middle School               Watoo, DH Pora                 Kulgam

Oct 21              Govt Higher Sec School        Bogam                                   Kulgam

Oct 23             Govt High School                  Aripanthan, Beerwah         Budgam

Oct 24              Govt Middle School (Girls) Bonpora, Sadrkoot            Bandipore

Oct 24              Govt High School (Girls)     Goripora, Noorbagh          Srinagar

Oct 24               Govt Middle School              Samnoo, DH Pora             Kulgam

Oct 25               Govt Higher Sec School       Aeshmuqam                      Anantnag

Oct 27               Govt Middle School               Tappar, Pattan                   Baramulla

Oct 27               Govt Middle School               Habbar, Khag                     Budgam

Oct 28               Iqra Public School ((Mid.)   Batgung, Verinag               Anantnag
Oct 30              Govt Higher Sec School         Kabamarg, Dyalgam         Anantnag

Schools partially damaged in fire

Sep 28                        Govt Middle School          Batgund, Mawar              Kupwara

Oct 02                        Govt Higher Sec School   Katrusa                               Kulgam

Oct 23                        Govt High School              Kawoosa Khalsa               Budgam

Oct 28                        Govt Middle School          Daderhama                       Ganderbal

Oct 29                         Jawahar N Vidhalaya     Aeshmuqam                       Anantnag


[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]

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