October 2016 News

Taliban-type Offensive Against Schools In Jammu And Kashmir

26 October 2016
Times of India
M Saleem Pandit

Srinagar: Almost like Taliban's offensive against education in Pakistan and Afghanistan, terror groups in Kashmir are destroying schools and ensuring their continued shutdown. According to official figures, seventeen government schools and three private schools have been wrecked in the last three months of unrest. The schools in Valley have remained shut since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8. Officials said that around two million students have been prevented from going to schools across the Kashmir Valley. The students of border areas like Gurez, Tangdhar and Uri in Kashmir, and Jammu and Ladakh regions have been attending schools without disruption though. Separatist influence is limited to the Valley. Pakistan-sponsored stone-pelting brigades set two more government schools on fire on Tuesday, one at Noorbagh area of Srinagar city and a higher secondary at Aishmuqam in Anantnag district. The closure of schools and colleges has also been enforced by the diktats issued by the separatist conglomerate Hurriyat and militant outfits. Lashkar-e-Taiba issued a warning to J&K education minister Naeem Akhtar on September 27 for trying to resume schools and colleges in the Valley. Lashkar spokesman Abdullah Ghaznavi quoted LeT operation chief Mehmood Shah and said, '...Kashmiris are educated enough to decide what is good or bad for them. If Naeem Akhtar does not budge, we will initiate action against him.' Later, in an open letter, Akhtar asked pro-Pakistan separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani to allow educational institutions to run. But his plea had no effect on separatists or terror groups. Hundreds of parents have sent their wards to Jammu and Delhi for studies after they lost three months of schooling.