Srinagar: Lambasting education minister Naeem Akhtar and the PDP-BJP government for its “dictate” to students to appear for Board exams in November, many students of various private and government schools protested in the lawns of Jenab Saheb Anchar shrine on Wednesday against the “victimising” of students for political “self-interests”.
Carrying placards that read “We are ready to sacrifice our future for Kashmir” and “No exams till Kashmir issue is resolved”, students mostly from high and higher secondary schools assembled in the famous shrine of Jenab Saheb in Soura locality of Srinagar and raised slogans against the government.
“One of our classmates who studies in 10th standard is in sub-district jail Kupwara after government slapped him with draconian Public Safety Act (PSA). Another is battling eye injuries after he was hit by pellets shot by government forces. There are hundreds of examples like this. Why is minister saheb (Naeem Akhtar) keeping mum on this?” a group of the protesting students said.
The students said that despite their having not finished their academic syllabus, they are ready to appear in exams but in the “terror” like atmosphere they can hardly concentrate on studies.
“During the day, ammunition fires explode outside our house and during the night hours we remain inside. There is continuous fear that at any moment troops will barge into our house and either arrest us or beat us up without any reason. For the same reason, our parents do not allow us to study till late hours,” Wajid Ramjan, a Class 12 student, said.
Adil Rashid, another student, asked the government what is the guarantee that student’s safety will not be at risk during the scheduled exam period.
“Will the government then take responsibility if troops thrash or police arrest students who are going to appear in exams?” he questioned.
The students criticised Akhtar’s appeal to keep education out of politics.
“Why is he (Akhtar) victimising us to fulfill his political goals? His claim that he is securing the future of children is nothing but a gimmick to sabotage the ongoing freedom movement,” said Aasiya Rasool, a Class 12 student in Srinagar.
“We have suffered a lot not just during past three months but before that in 2008 and 2010 as well. We may continue to suffer unless the vexed issue is resolved. For that we are ready to sacrifice our academic year,” Zikra, a Class 11 student, said.
“Their aim is to portray normalcy in Valley even though government crackdown continues in entire Valley,” said Owais Satar and Roman Nabi, who were part of the protest rally that
later marched through localities of Soura and reached Higher Secondary School Soura where in front of the school they held demonstrations and then dispersed peacefully.