SRINAGAR: Various schools of the Valley are still under occupation of government troops, despite the Srinagar by-poll being over and the by-poll in Anantnag deferred to May 25.
Government Higher Secondary School Nishat, Government Middle School Gagribal, Government Girls High School Drogjan, and National High School Karan Nagar, were occupied by government forces ahead of the parliamentary elections in Srinagar seat and remain under their occupation.
Khursheed Rather, principal of the Government Middle School Gagribal, termed the forces’ occupation of his school “very unfortunate”. A rally was also taken out by students of the school demanding that the troops leave the school.
“It made students come out on roads,” Khursheed Rather said. “Then the authorities ask why students of my school were protesting on roads? Why won’t they? The authorities are playing with the education of students.”
Khursheed said that already much school time had been wasted because of the 2016 uprising. “It’s very difficult to get students of government schools back on track,” he said.
This school with 126 students was once called the best government school in Srinagar district by the then education minister. Now the school building has suffered much damage. The principal said that the washrooms were lying defunct. “We had maintained the ground of the school but that, too, was spoiled by the trucks of government forces,” he said.
According to school officials, the army entered the school on April 3. Javaid Ahmed, parent of a student, said, “Our children have no class work to do and nothing to learn. How will our children compete with other kids?”
Parvaiz Ahmed, head master of the Drogjan High School, said that the furniture of the school was kept outside in rain and snow by the troops. “The school was occupied by 2 groups; one has left and the other is still there. Every day I call to enquire whether the troops have left or not. Then I inform my staff and they inform the students. It is a girls’ school and I don’t want anything bad to happen,” Ahmed said.
The principals of these schools have approached the Director of School Education, the CEO Srinagar, and the police station in their area, but nothing has come out of it.
The functioning of four government schools that are housed in National High School Karan Nagar has also been affected by the presence of troops. A female teacher said that when she came in the morning, she saw army men bathing in the premises of the school.
Education Minister Altaf Bukhari told Reader that the troops will vacate the schools by Sunday. “I admit that students have to suffer and I will do my best to make up for the loss, but there are some things that are not in my hand,” he said.
He said that officers have been ordered to make up a list of damages that schools have suffered due to presence of government forces.