By Raashid Hassan
Shopian: The education department’s announcement to spare teachers from non-teaching activities of the administration is brazenly flouted in south Kashmir’s Shopian district as scores of teachers have been summoned for election training.
Sources said that around 114 teachers and lecturers were given training to operate and handle electronic voting machined (EVMs) in the district.
The election training held Monday and Tuesday even after the education minister Altaf Bukhari said that government has decided to relieve teachers from all non-teaching assignments including election duties, census duties and “other off-beat responsibilities within the department to minimize the interruption of academic activities.”
Teachers and other employees were seen in election trainings at government degree college, DIET, and boys higher secondary school Shopian.
A school teacher who had come from far-flung village school of Shopian on Monday told Kashmir Reader that they were three teachers from same middle school and education of students is suffering due to their absence from the school.
A group of teachers told Kashmir Reader that government ordered them to get election trainings. “We fear to do election duties because we don’t know how to handle the crowd and how to escape from stone pelting, as the situation is not good for elections in Kashmir,” they said.
Another teacher Bashir Ahmad (name changed) told Kashmir Reader that authorities told them to bring their own food for election duties and don’t accept food if locals invite them.
“Even one of the top official from district administration admitted that the situation is not good but we are under pressure from the government to conduct these elections,” he said.
When contacted deputy commissioner Shopian Manzoor Ahmad Qadri said that the procedure is not followed exclusively in Shopian but it is the same in other districts as well. “Why do you ask me about a particular district, this is happening in all districts,” he said referring to election duty of teachers.