SRINAGAR: Journalism students at Government Degree College Anantnag have been asked by the district administration to vacate one of the two classrooms they study in, for polling staff who will use one room ahead of the Lok Sabha by-poll scheduled on April 12.
“A few days ago, some officials, who identified themselves as from the district administration, entered our classroom and asked us to vacate. Students and their teachers, including the head of the department, refused. However, it was the will of the administration that prevailed,” said a journalism student of the college.
The students and teachers have been asked to use only one classroom till April 12 because the other room will be used by polling staff, the student added.
The windows of the occupied room have been filled up with cement blocks.
“For two batches, we have only two classrooms and a studio. Now both the batches use the same classroom and the studio. One batch has to wait until the other finishes. Many classes of both batches are unable to be held in such a situation,” the student said.
“On Monday, we were outdoors for the whole day because we had no room to sit in. Today (Tuesday) 40 students had to wait outside for their turn to enter the class,” the student said.
Another student told Kashmir Reader that the zoology classrooms, the statistics department, the main building of the college, and the canteen have also been occupied.
Principal of the college, Peerzada M Yousuf, said that he is on leave and cannot comment.
The college’s classrooms, according to officials, would be used on the day of polling in Anantnag-Pulwama parliamentary constituency on April 12.
The head of journalism department, Fayaz Ahmad, said that he won’t let classes to be affected. When asked about the department’s initial refusal to give up one classroom, he said that he is not authorised to speak to the media.
In Srinagar, where polls are scheduled on April 9, many schools have been taken over for accommodation of government forces personnel called for election duties. Education Minister Syed Altaf Bukhari was reported to have said that he had not allowed the use of Kothi Bagh school for accommodation of troops and would try to set the other schools free of the presence of troops.