Army School Students Make Abortive Bid To Cross LoC

20 July 2015
Rising Kashmir
Nazir Ganaie

Srinagar: At least 22 students from Army Goodwill School, Badkoot of north Kashmir's Handwara town reportedly tried to cross Line of Control (LoC) for arms training recently, a claim police vehemently denies. 'It was 18th of Ramazan (10th July) when 22 students of Army Goodwill School Budkoot Handwara planned to cross the Indian Border,' sources said. They said the students have been identified and all of them belong to Army Goodwill School, Badkoot. 'Instead of attending the school they went to LoC to cross over to Pakistan,' sources said. Army runs several Goodwill schools in border areas. A police official, wishing not to be named, said while the students were getting ready to attend their school, at least 22 students of an army-run school tried to cross LOC. 'This wasn't expected,' the official said. 'Twenty of them left from their homes early in the morning and met at a fixed place as decided by them earlier,' he said. He said they left for Zachaldara village of Rajwar area by a local bus where the other two students (name withheld) were waiting for them. 'It was a planned move to cross over LoC,' police sources said. They said from Zachaldara they left for LOC by foot. While taking shortcuts from the nearby forests they reached the village Bowan which is just 6-7 kms from the LOC. 'We lost our way from the village Bowan and luckily one of the students had an android phone along with him, we used Google maps application to find our way ahead, we spotted the army patrolling party several times on our way but we managed to escape from their sites,' said a student, who was part of the group. 'But when we reached Bowan Watsar village of that area we were trapped in an ambush which was put by the local 21-RR army battalion of Rajwar,' he said, adding, 'We tried hard to escape from the spot but one of the army personnel fired in our direction.' Another student while narrating the story said one of the army personnel kept on shouting 'surrender, surrender'. Sources said the school administration had informed forward border posts following which they were intercepted. 'We put our hands up and we were detained and later taken to the police post,' he said. The students were later shifted to Police Station, Handwara, where they were questioned first and later released. When asked about the reasons to cross LOC, one of them, angrily said: 'We have to kill our school principal. He is very harsh to us. We didn't have arms to kill him so we tried to cross to the other side of the country to bring arms.' Senior Superintendent of Police, Handwara, Ghulam Jeelani, said: 'There is nothing like that. These are just stories that media people want to create,' he said. Asked whether any such incident was reported to Handwara police station, he said: 'Actually these students wanted to bunk their classes because they have some problems with the examination system of the school and that's why such stories came up.' Sources said the principal of the school has been transferred and a local person has been appointed to head the institution on interim arrangements. Despite repeated attempts, defense spokesperson didn't respond to the calls of this reporter.