‘Malicious campaign against school, our students have served in police and army’
Shopian: A day after media reports that three teachers of a Shopian school had been booked under Public Safety Act (PSA), Muhammad Yousuf Mantoo, founding chairman of the school, spoke to Kashmir Reader to assert that the persons booked under PSA had nothing to do with the institution.
“We even don’t know them. These three persons have never been teachers or staffers here,” Mantoo said.
He also refuted media reports that students from other states were pursuing education at his school. “We have never had any student from outside Jammu and Kashmir. This institution has produced doctors, engineers, scientists and some have joined police and even the army. There may be some who after passing out from here had turned left or right but we should not be blamed for that, as even universities and colleges or police and army couldn’t prevent their cadres from taking part in unlawful activities,” he said.
Mantoo, however, acknowledged that the school is “being investigated since three months”.
“They (investigating agencies) do come here and ask us about various things, but in the past two-three days something very different is being put out against our name,” Mantoo said.
“We are ready to cooperate with any investigation. Our school is situated between four security establishments, including of the army, police and CRPF, who round the clock watch our activities and, thank God, they never found anything suspicious about us. InshaAllah, this institution will never entertain such activities,” he said.
“Given our resources and strength, we always tried our best to prepare students to be peace-loving and nation builders. We never allowed any anti-social or unlawful activity and for that, policemen and other security agencies are witnesses,” he said.
When asked if the Pulwama attack accused ever studied at his school, Mantoo said that the person was a student for a few months or a year in 2004, when he was a kid, and it is unfair to blame the school after sixteen years for his activities.
“Hadn’t he studied in any other educational institute? It is a malicious campaign to defame our institution,” Mantoo said.
Officials from this secondary school (Oriental College) said that it had started formally in the year 2000 and since then, more than ten-thousand students have pursued primary and secondary education from this institution.
“Some of them went on to become doctors and engineers. Some joined the police and a few even joined the army,” an official at the school said.
Mantoo said that they regularly invite people from the civil administration and army for annual programmes. “They have been here many times. Our only goal is to give education, both modern education and moral education, to produce people who will be peace keepers and peace makers,” Mantoo said, adding that his institution is an open book, not a hidden one.
He said that unverified media reports could tarnish the image of the institution and affect admissions. “It is my request to all media houses not to name and shame us for things which we have never done,” he said.
School officials said that all the land, about 130 kanals, belonging to the premises of the institution was donated by a Sufi saint named Gul Muhammad Shah in the 1970s. “His aim was to build a university on his land,” one of the officials said.