Kashmir Stone-throwers Studying In Jail To Save Their Academic Year16 October 2010
Srinagar: Books have replaced stones for the ‘stone throwers’ currently in the lock-up in Kashmir. The Jammu and Kashmir police have embarked on a 'Mission Education’ to help students arrested for throwing stones at security forces to study in the lock-up by arranging special classes for them in an attempt to save their academic year. Under the programme, the police have roped in teachers of a government higher secondary school in the old city, who regularly visits one of the police stations selected for this experiment to impart education to the youth. Some police officers too have chipped in to teach the students so that they could prepare for their upcoming examinations. “The law will take its own course as far as their cases are concerned,” said Shokat Hussian, superintendent of police (Srinagar-North), “But at the same time, we do not want their careers to be ruined. Therefore, we have started imparting education while in detention so that they could be able to sit in the examinations.” Most of the students detained for stone pelting are studying in different classes ranging from IX to XII. “We are taking proper care to create the necessary atmosphere for studying and learning in the police stations. That is why we have made a makeshift classroom in the police station where the students can study,” Shoket said. Nearly 50 students arrested for stone pelting were recently released from different police stations following a slew of confidence-building measures announced by the Omar Abdullah government on September 29 in an attempt to end the cycle of violence the began a few months ago. For students who are still facing charges, the government is making arrangements to save their academic career. “I have asked all the police stations to arrange for special classes for the students arrested for stone-pelting,” Shoket said. Incidentally, the education of the students had become a major bone of contention between the separatists and the government. While the separatists wanted the students to go to school only on the days that curfew had not been imposed or protests not called, the government decided to keep schools open even during curfew hours or while demonstrations were being staged in an attempt to save the students’ academic year. The police said keeping the schools open had not gone down well with the stone-throwers, who then began targeting the school buses. Three school children were injured when miscreants stoned a school bus at Badamwari on Wednesday, the police said. J&K governor NN Vohra has asked that all possible measures be taken on the most urgent basis to restore the full functioning of all the schools, colleges and universities in the valley. “Particular attention should be paid to enable younger children to regularly attend school,” he said.