Peaceful Day In Valley Sees School Attendance Up By 26 Pc29 September 2010
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Kashmir today returned to normalcy after hard line faction of Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani exempted the day from protests and strikes, which saw a quantum jump in the attendance of students in schools of the Valley. Although the Government had earlier tried to counter Geelani's protest calendar by imposing curfew during the first half of the day marked as normal by the separatist leader, the authorities today lifted curfew from most parts of the city at 8.00 a.m. Confusion reigned supreme soon after curfew was relaxed in the morning as police vehicles fitted with public address systems announced that relaxation was only for two hours. However, sanity prevailed when the relaxation was later extended indefinitely. All the major markets in the Valley including the summer capital of Srinagar were abuzz with activity as shops, business establishments and private offices opened early in the morning. Public transport also plied on all major routes of the city and rest of the Valley. It was for the first time since Eidul Fitr on September 11 that Kashmir valley witnessed a full day of normalcy. Barring a stray incident, in which CRPF personnel with a slingshot injured a youth by 'firing' a marble at Soura, the law and order situation remained by and large peaceful. Abid Mushtaq was injured in the left eye and was admitted in SMHS hospital here. As the law and order situation improved, the authorities lifted curfew from Kupwara district of North Kashmir and Ganderbal district in Central Kashmir. 'Curfew was relaxed in south, west and east zones of Srinagar city from 8.00 am to 10.00 am, but the relaxation was later extended till further orders,' a police spokesman said. Curfew restrictions were eased in North and Hazratbal Zone of the city from 1 pm onwards. Meanwhile, Geelani's decision to exempt the day from strikes and protests saw a massive 26 per cent more students attend schools as many private educational institutions opened, two days after the Government announced its plans to restart learning process in the Valley even during curfew days. While only 41 per cent of the students had attended classes across Kashmir valley yesterday, the figure today stood at 67 per cent. The most surprising jump in attendance was registered by Awantipora town in South Kashmir Pulwama district where every student attended school today. Yesterday, only 12 per cent students had come to schools. Overall, Pulwama district registered a sharp increase as 85 per cent students attended school against just 11 per cent yesterday. Anantnag district of South Kashmir recorded 90 per cent turnout of students today, while the lowest 50 per cent was registered in nearby Kulgam district. Srinagar, the summer capital of the State, which witnessed a dismal 16 per cent of turnout of the students yesterday, registered manifold increase as the turnout jumped to 62 per cent. The figures given by the officials showed that attendance in Shopian was 80 per cent, while it was 66 per cent in Bandipora, 65 per cent in Kupwara, 60 per cent in Budgam and 55 per cent in Ganderbal. Education Minister Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed said he was happy over opening of the schools and improved attendance of the students. 'There is a need to keep the education above politics to save future of the children'. He said strike calls or curfew should not affect functioning of the schools or colleges. Sayeed said while the Education department had requested the private schools to resume functioning on all days, the Government can take action as warranted under rules if any institution is found to be abiding the separatist calendar.