Amnesty slams burning of schools in Valley

Updated - December 02, 2016 01:30 pm IST

Published - November 05, 2016 01:48 am IST - Srinagar:

Even as rights body Amnesty International condemned the burning of schools in the Valley, three more educational institutions were set on fire by unidentified persons on Thursday, just hours after the government decided to hold the annual examinations of Classes 10 and 12 this month itself.

“Schools should be safe spaces under all circumstances. The vicious arson attacks on schools end up denying children their right to education. This disturbing trend must stop. The government should bring to justice those responsible,” said Aakar Patel, executive director, Amnesty International India.

It also asked the government “to shift some of examination centres away from schools occupied by security forces.”

Since July 8, when militant commander Burhan Wani was killed, 27 schools have been torched by miscreants. Militants, separatists, political parties and civil society groups have condemned these acts.

Three more educational institutes — Sri Pratap College in Srinagar, Government Primary School Dugpora, Gadoora, Ganderbal and Boys Middle School Asthan Mohallah, Naid Khai, Bandipora — sustained minor damage in arson attack on Thursday.

Syllabus halved

The government has offered choices in question papers. Only 50 per cent of the syllabus will be covered. “The examination will start mid-November. Those interested in taking examinations with full syllabi shall be provided an opportunity in March 2017 without any academic penalty,” said Kashmir Board of School Education Chairman Zahoor Ahmad Chatt.

Those students who were injured in the ongoing unrest, can opt for helpers provided by the Board.

‘Unjust move’

However, students rue the government decision. “It’s unjust to hold examinations after what the students went through in the last four months. The adamant decision to hold examinations is a political move,” said a Class 12 student.

Valley’s leading daily, Greater Kashmir , in a page-one editorial on Friday pleaded for “adequate preparatory time” to students. “…There is a natural consternation among the student community about facing the examination. They have thus sought adequate preparatory time. This has translated into a demand for postponement of the exam to March, something that can be empathised with under the circumstances,” reads the editorial.

There have been both pro- and anti-examination protests for weeks now.

Meanwhile, Director General of Police (DGP), Kashmir, K. Rajendra Kumar, on Friday discussed security of educational institutions and the arrangements for smooth conduct of examinations. “Miscreants are targeting educational institutions but their nefarious designs will be foiled,” said Mr. Rajendra.

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