Is Kashmir heading towards a new campus uprising? 

Srinagar: The valley wide student protest have increased the apprehensions about Kashmir heading towards a new ‘campus uprising’. It seems that the education sector is getting deeply and trying to paint its involvement on the political canvas of Kashmir.

On Thursday, all the educational institutions reopened after three day’s closure ordered in the wake of civilian and militant killings in south Kashmir.

However, the strategy of closing down the schools didn’t yield any fruitful results for the government as campuses erupted across Kashmir to express their anger against the government.

Earlier, the government couldn’t open the educational institutions on March 05 in wake of the militant killings in south Kashmir. The schools were supposed to resume class work post over two month long winter vacations. However, the government extended the closure of schools for almost a week’s time to avoid student protest in Kashmir.

From last year, the situation in Kashmir has taken a u-turn keeping in view the law and order problems and measures to control it.

In 2016, the educational institutions remained closed for around five months and government was pressing for reopening of schools treating it as a measure to restore normalcy in Kashmir. And later, it proved fruitful for the government as normalcy was restored in Kashmir after government was successful in opening of schools and colleges.

However, last year, the government was sent in a tizzy as campuses erupted in protests across Kashmir in the wake of the police action in Government Degree College Pulwama, leaving 50 students injured.

The student protests witnessed a spike forcing government to extend closure of school after each day. To recall, the government ordered closure of schools and colleges for 17 days out of 34 working days, from April 17 to May 30.

Now, from past one week, the government has failed to restore normal class work in Schools and colleges. On Thursday the government ordered for opening of schools which created law and order situation across Kashmir. Given the prevailing situation, it seems that government is running short of ideas to separate education sector from political and security situation in Kashmir.

From the past year, the private school body had voiced their concern over mingling education sector with political situation of Kashmir and urged the government to draw a line between the two in order to safeguard the academic career of lakhs of students. However, the government failed to chalk out a proper strategy to delink education sector from politics and prevailing situation in Kashmir.

Chairman Private School Association Kashmir (PSAK) when contacted said they have always pleaded for making education apolitical so that there won’t be any disturbance in the academics but government didn’t turn up on this issue.

“We are always at forefront to help the government to come out of this challenging situation wherein schools turn into battle fields,” Var said.

Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK) G N Itoo however, said there were no protests from schools but law and order problem was created by college students. “We are hopeful that schools will function normally from tomorrow,” he said.

When asked why government is not able to separate education from politics, he said: “We don’t want to close the educational institutions but at times we feel helpless and closing down the schools and colleges becomes the easy option to control the situation.”

Itoo further said the divisional administration takes call on opening or closing of schools keeping in view the ground situation.

Come Saturday, it will be seen whether government will be able to resume normal class work in schools and colleges or it may extend the closure of educational institutions.


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