‘Sadhbhavna to counter student unrest’

Amid the escalating tensions between forces and students across Kashmir, the school education department is engaging government school students for Army tour under Operation Sadbhavana.

For this the concerned Chief Education Officers (CEOs) have directed the concerned school heads to depute over a dozen students for their tour with Army to outside states.

The development comes at a time when Kashmir is witnessing spike in student protests against highhandedness of forces on them.

Recently, over a dozen girl students from Uri area of Baramulla district were deputed by the school education department on their visit to various places outside J&K state as part of “Capacity Building Tour” under Operation Sadbhavna.

The students were sent in the last week of April month to visit various Corps of Military Police Centre and School, Army Institute of Fashion and Design, Army Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology and other places as well. The students are likely to stay for over 10 days on the tour with Army.

The students are deputed for Army’s Operation Sadbhavna tour at a time when the J&K’s school education department has its own funds for the purpose under centrally sponsored scheme- Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA). Under the scheme the concerned school heads have to send a group of class 10th students for outside state tour as part of exposure visit.

“Besides this department has a separate fund to organize student tour within the Valley,” the official said.

Interestingly, Kashmir is witnessing widespread student protest post Pulwama incident wherein college students were thrashed by forces resulting in injuries to over 50 students. Since, then there is no let-up in protests as police continued action against students for taking part in protests and stone pelting on police.

Meanwhile, Chief Education Officer (CEO) Srinagar has directed two school heads in city to depute a group of male students for their tour to outside state under Army’s Sadbhavna.

“The two school heads have boy’s enrolment and authorities want to engage boys in this tour as part of exposure visit under Sadbhavna,” the officials said, adding that the department was also looking for more schools wherein students will be sent for Army tour.

“This is ironical, department is risking lives of students by motivating them to get exposed to outside places. The students are not aware about the agenda behind it,” the official said.

The official said the registration of the students is done secretly by the department and the list of students is send to the Army to complete further formalities.

“Given the prevailing circumstances in Kashmir, the students’ lives are put at risk by sending them on these tours. Department should instead use its own funds and send students for exposure visits to outside state,” the official said.

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