Anantnag: Teachers at a government school in Yanner area of Pahalgam have alleged that army soldiers heckled and abused them after they refused to say ‘Vande Mataram’ and to sing the national anthem.
The incident took place when students of the government middle school in Yanner were busy with their morning assembly. According to the teachers, the army men led by their commander entered the school premises after they saw pro-freedom graffiti on the walls of the school.
“They came barging into the school and inquired about the graffiti. After that, they asked us to chant Vande Mataram and to sing the national anthem, which we refused to do,” a group of teachers at the school said.
They said that the army men heckled and abused them. “Our principal was pushed around by the army men and teachers were heckled and abused,” the teachers said. “It was a trauma for us and the students as well.”
They alleged that this was not the first time that army men from the nearby 3 RR camp had harassed them. “They frequently visit the school and harass teachers as well as students,” they said.
Following the incident, parents of the students reached the school and held protests against the army. Pahalgam legislator and senior leader of the opposition National Conference, Altaf Kaloo, reached the school and sought an immediate FIR against the army men.
“To barge into a school like this is unlawful. I condemn the act. An FIR should immediately be lodged into the incident, otherwise the army men will be solely responsible for any law and order problems that will emerge here in Pahalgam,” Kaloo told Kashmir Reader over phone while he was leading the protests.
A senior police official from the area told Kashmir Reader that the police have taken cognisance of the matter and have sought a written complaint from the school authorities.
“We will act according to that complaint,” the official said.
Army spokesperson Colonel Rajesh Kalia told Kashmir Reader that army soldiers had entered the school premises only to enquire about the graffiti.
“The allegations of heckling and abusing teachers are baseless and concocted,” Kalia said.