Jammu: Minister of State for Education Priya Sethi Thursday informed the House that the “miscreants” torched 32 school buildings during the past 5 months of disturbances in Kashmir Valley.
Among the schools torched, 14 were fully damaged and 18 partially, she said adding police have registered cases and investigations are on. She said 47 “miscreants” have been arrested so far in connection with the burning of schools.
Replying to a clubbed question by Qaiser Jamshed Lone and Dr Bashir Ahmad Veeri, in the Upper, the Minister said in view of these incidents in the Valley, the Divisional Administration took various measures for protection of schools which included, among others, deployment of watch and ward staff, associating Members of Village Level Education Committee (VLEC) and Numberdars/Chowkidars/Local Auqaf Committee/Local Imams and respectable persons of the society, besides regular monitoring, fire safety measures, better lightening, etc.
The Minister informed that the Director School Education, Kashmir issued Circular/ instructions to prepare duty roster so that at least one official remained present in the school round-the-clock. She however said, it was specifically mentioned that the teachers would remain in the school during day time only. She said subsequently, in view of the availability of adequate CPWs, Chowkidars and Orderlies, the School Education Department redeployed them for watch and ward purpose so that no school categorized as ‘hyper-sensitive ‘ and ‘sensitive’ was left unattended.
She said the department also involved local community in the efforts to protect the schools, which proved very successful and 15 attempts by anti-social elements to torch the schools were thwarted. She said the teachers of the department voluntarily associated themselves to protect the schools.
Asserting that elaborate steps were taken to prevent these incidents, she said the schools were categorized in three categories viz normal, sensitive and hyper sensitive. She said all sensitive and hyper sensitive schools were provided 24 hours watch and ward staff by redeploying existing manpower comprising Chowkidars/Orderlies/CPWs. She said a security plan was put in place by the security agencies which included patrolling around Schools categorized as sensitive and hyper sensitive. She said all schools were directed to adopt fire safety measures.