Despite assurances of mayor and his deputy, Bilal Dar still not in school

Despite assurances of mayor and his deputy, Bilal Dar still not in school
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‘Order has gone missing’, clerks at SMC Commissioner’s office told him

SRINAGAR, It is close to two weeks since the Srinagar mayor and deputy mayor assured that 20-year-old Bilal Dar, appointed brand ambassador for cleanliness by Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), will be sent to school, yet he has not joined any school. Bilal told Kashmir Reader that both the mayor and the deputy mayor had written to the SMC Commissioner to send him to school but he has not yet been told about any school to go to, and he continues to attend his office at SMC as usual.

Bilal said that after a week elapsed with no action taken on the mayor and deputy mayor’s order, he visited the commissioner’s office where clerks told him that the “order” had gone missing.

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“I visited the commissioner’s office to inquire about the order. Officials there began looking for the order, then said it had gone missing,” Bilal said.

After a report by Kashmir Reader that an official at SMC had made Bilal quit his school, Srinagar Mayor Junaid Mattu had tweeted that the SMC will allow his education, and his progress and welfare will be monitored by himself from time to time. He had even posted a photo with Dar on Twitter.

“Bilal is going back to school and I will personally monitor his progress and welfare from time to time. I wish him the best for a successful and prosperous life and have no doubt that he will continue to inspire young men and women to be role models,” reads Mattu’s tweet, with an order to the SMC Commissioner attached.

In another tweet, Mattu said, “Met young Bilal Ahmed, our Swachh Bharat Brand Ambassador at my office this morning. The SMC will not just “allow” his education but will FACILITATE and ENCOURAGE it while he helps us in our SBM initiatives. We are committed to his personal development and growth.”

Mattu did not answer calls from this newspaper. SMC Commissioner Tariq Ali told Kashmir Reader that nobody has stopped Bilal from pursuing education. When told that Bilal is yet to attend school and a clerk has claimed that the order has gone missing, Tariq said he will look into the matter on Monday.

Deputy Mayor Imran said that he was waiting for his orders to be executed. He said he was committed to Bilal’s education and could assign a councillor to ensure that Bilal is admitted to a school and starts attending it.

Bilal, who is an orphan and bears the financial responsibility of his sister and mother, started picking up trash from Wular Lake when he was 12 years old. He had been cleaning the trash for seven years before a documentary featuring his work was released and he was noticed by former SMC Commissioner Shafaqat, who called Bilal, a native of a remote area of north Kashmir, to the city and asked him to become a brand ambassador for SMC.

In his monthly radio programme Mann Ki Baat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the SMC for appointing an ambassador for the cause of cleanliness and called Bilal a role model for youth.