Open Letter to Altaf Bukhari

Open Letter to Altaf Bukhari
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Create a conducive atmosphere for Education to Flourish

By Fida Hussain

Education Minister Syed Muhammad Altaf Bukhari asked students to control their emotions and return back to the classes. He also sternly warned the students that they will be treated as “rowdies” if they keep coming on roads even threatening to close the educational institutions forever. The students have been protesting on the brutal Rape and Murder of 8 year old girl in Kuthua. Emotions when linked to such a heinous crime where an 8 year old girl is raped and murdered are bound to be high. The students, including girls, protested against this gruesome crime in a peaceful manner. These demonstrations turn violent only when the peaceful protesting students are bombarded with tear gas shells, pellets and beaten by the forces.
The reasons for turning the peaceful protests into violent protests are grave mishandling of the situation by the administration. There is a severe communication breakdown at various levels of administration and police that leads the situation to deteriorate. Addressing students as “rowdies” will in no way be acceptable in a civilized society. Let the Education Minister know that the same students who are being defamed as “rowdies” have brought laurels to the state in the academic and all other fields.
Similarly, the decision to close the coaching institutes for 90 days is a grave miscalculation which clearly reflects the administration’s failure to handle the situation. No doubt education is of utmost importance to the young generation of the Kashmir valley. The valley of Saints and Sufis should produce the Scholars and researchers. But , we cannot force things on the young generation. The students who have grown up under the shadow of conflict needs to be handle with care. Oppressive measures will not help to contain the anger that have encrypted in the young minds of the students.
The students should be listened to. They should be attended. Not by force. Not by Tear gas shells and pellets. But, by sympathy and empathy. Instead of using anger as a tool of communication with the students, Mr. Education Minister, should bring the students back to classes through constructive efforts. Closing Educational Institutes is in no way a solution to any problem. There should be “Government-Student Diplomacy” not only to contain the situation but to listen the students on a regular basis to avoid the communication breakdown. Mr. Education Minister, create a conducive and positive atmosphere for education to flourish first and then think about anything else.

—The author is P.G in Mass Communication and Journalism. He can be reached at: