SRINAGAR: Coming down heavily on the state government over the issue of schools burnt down during the 2016 summer uprising, the J&K High Court on Tuesday gave the government a week to come up with a proper status report failing which, the Director, School Education, Kashmir, is to be present at the next hearing.
Hearing Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey said, “The detailed project reports are not showing the dates on which they are received and forwarded. They are all the same. That means no sanction has been granted and no construction work has been started.”
The court passed the orders after Additional Advocate General BA Dar submitted that that though the detailed report has been put on record, but so far as concerns the dates on which inputs were received and forwarded, a compliance report will be filed at the next hearing.
At least 34 schools were burnt or damaged last year, as per information revealed in court by the government. As many as 47 persons, including five juveniles, were arrested for their alleged involvement in the arson, 10 of whom have been booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA), Kashmir’s Inspector General of Police informed the court in the latest status report.
On a previous hearing, the IGP Kashmir had told court that four persons were granted bail by the District and Sessions Court, Srinagar. In district Budgam, the Valley’s top cop said three persons had been bailed out. In another central Kashmir district, Ganderbal, he said three persons had applied for bail, of whom it was granted to two.
The IGP had said seven persons in Baramulla, four in Anantnag and six in Kulgam have also received bail. In Shopian district, he said, eight persons applied for bail, and seven of them were granted it.
Reporting on arrests made in the case since mid-December, the IGP said there had been three more, taking the number of those allegedly involved in the burning of schools to 47 with 42 among them being adults and five juveniles.
The IGP further said that 19 dossiers had been submitted to the concerned district magistrates for issuance of PSA warrants, of which 10 have been already executed.
He also submitted that police supervisory officers and patrolling parties continue their visits of school buildings in their respective areas. Till date, 6,712 such visits have been conducted.
The court has shown its deep concern about the burning down of educational institutions in various parts of the Valley. To ensure school buildings are protected against being vandalised, damaged or burnt down, it has issued several directions from time to time.
“Education is not relevant only for present times but it has been relevant for the human beings from the advent of human history. Illiteracy breeds ignorance, and illiterate people are susceptible to all kinds of exploitations. Like water and air, education is an essential component of human life,” the court has previously observed, noting that education is of utmost importance for a human being’s moral, spiritual and material development.