JAMMU: The upper house legislators of the opposition National Conference (NC) and Congress on Thursday staged a walkout from over the “failure” of the government in providing the real facts on the teacher’s status and responsibility for the safety of schools they work in.
They said the concerned minister did not offer satisfactory answer to the query on whether the teachers were responsible to look after the school buildings they work in round-the-clock. The query was in the backdrop of burning down of 32 schools by unknown miscreants during the recent unrest. The authorities asked the schoolteachers to report for the night duty to safeguard the schools. The query was from NC legislators Qaiser Jamshed Lone and Dr Bashir Ahmad Veeri.
The legislators who were supported by their Congress colleagues complained that the information furnished by the junior education minister Priya Sethi was totally baseless. They said the state government played with the lives of teaching community especially the female teachers who were forced to stay in school buildings round-the-clock without any security arrangements during the height of unrest in Kashmir.
The legislators asked as to which authority issued the orders for the night duty of teachers. They said the government issued threats to the teachers and forced them to go for the grueling and uncalled for duty.
Replying to the clubbed question, Sethi said that in view of incidents of arson, 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 and better lightening.tc.
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.
Sethi said 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 were on. She said 47 miscreants have been arrested so far in connection with the burning of schools.