Situation Peaceful But School Attendance Drops28 September 2010
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: The law and order situation in Kashmir valley today remained by and large peaceful as schools remained opened but the attendance of students dropped significantly in view of the incidents of vandalisation of school buses by protestors yesterday. Barring two stray incidents of stone pelting in Sopore town of North Kashmir and Darish Kadal area of the city in which two persons were injured, Kashmir witnessed a peaceful day, official sources said. An Executive Engineer of Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation suffered serious head injuries, near Darish Kadal in the down town area of Srinagar today late in the evening when miscreants pelted stones on his vehicle. The Engineer Basharat Ahmad Malik was on his way to home from the office when he was attacked. Malik was shifted by police to SMHS Hospital for treatment but he was referred to SKIMS hospital at Soura. At Seeloo in Sopore area of Baramulla district, a group of youth, who had gathered on Sopore-Kupwara road, pelted stones at a security force vehicle. The security forces lobbed tear gas shells and fired in the air to disperse the protestors, resulting in minor injuries to one person. The situation was brought under control and the injured youth has been discharged from the hospital, SP Sopore Altaf Ahmad said. A police spokesman said that no untoward incident had been reported from anywhere in the Valley during the preceding night. Curfew was relaxed for five hours in Trehgam, Kralapora and Kupwara in North Kashmir from 9 am to 2 pm. The restrictions were also eased in Ganderbal and Kangan towns in Central Kashmir from 11 am to 1 pm. The relaxation period in all these areas passed off peacefully. Curfew was relaxed in the summer capital of the State in a phased manner in the late afternoon. South, West and East zones witnessed easing of relaxation at 3.30 p.m while in North and Hazratbal Zones the restrictions were eased from 4.30 pm onwards till further orders. Curfew has been lifted from seven districts of the Valley already while restrictions under Section 144 CrPC, which were in place in Budgam district since Sunday, have also been lifted. Curfew was imposed in Srinagar city on September 12 and was extended to the entire Kashmirvalley next day following widespread violence. Kashmir valley has been in grip of violent protests since June 11 when a 17-year-old boy was killed after he was hit by a tearsmoke shell during clashes at Rajouri Kadal in interior city. Meanwhile, schools in the Valley opened again today but the number of students attending classes dropped in most of the areas of Kashmir, barring North Kashmir Bandipora district where 17 per cent more children joined their schoolmates in the learning process. Pulwama district in South Kashmir witnessed the lowest attendance of just 12 per cent followed by Srinagar city at 16 per cent and Budgam district at 17 per cent, sources said. These areas had yesterday witnessed 20 per cent, 28 per cent and 30 per cent attendance of students yesterday. Kulgam district witnessed the biggest drop in attendance of students today as only 40 per cent came to schools today compared to 75 per cent yesterday. Baramulla district also saw one-third of students today staying home as only 50 per cent attended classes against 75 per cent yesterday. The story was no different in Anantnag (63 per cent) and Kupwara (61 per cent) as 12 per cent less attendance was registered in schools in these two districts. Ganderbal had nine per cent lesser students in schools compared to the 50 per cent yesterday. Many private schools including Delhi Public School (DPS) Srinagar have decided not to open today following several incidents of vandalisation of their buses yesterday. Hard line Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has defended his call to parents about not sending their wards to school saying Kashmiris were fully aware of their interests and future and did not require any advice from Union Home Minister P Chidambaram or anyone else. Geelani said the schools and colleges were open till Eid, which was observed on September 11, but were closed only after the Government imposed strict curfew.