After UJC’s statement, all and sundry in Kashmir condemn burning of schools
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Oct 31: On Sunday a group of 28 Kashmiri intellectuals, most serving and retired academics, signed and issued a statement calling for deferment of the annual examinations for Class 10th and Class 12th besides all classes as, they argued, the students had failed to complete syllabus due to the 114-day-long street turbulence.
The statement cautioned senior PDP leader and Minister of Education Naeem Akhtar for building prestige and proceeding with his rigidity. It also asked Mehbooba Muti’s government to stop conducting raids by night for arresting the people allegedly involved in arranging protests or indulging in stone pelting. The statement, however, did not carry a word of condemnation or concern over the unidentified miscreants’ attacks on education in the Valley.
In all 26 government and private schools have been torched and destroyed fully while as attempted have been made to burn down five more schools. With an unsuccessful attempt on the Government Middle School at Nagbal, Ganderbal, on Monday evening, as many as 31 educational institutes have been targeted in the last 56 days.
Until Monday, few of the State’s representative political and social organisation and leaders had come forward with an unqualified condemnation of the burning spree. When the most secure and the best protected ruling parties, PDP and BJP, choose to remain silent, why should anyone expect the opposition parties to stick their neck out in support of the government?
Let alone contesting the separatists’ claims and narratives politically, Kashmir’s mainstream politicians — who have been rotating in opposition and power — have outclassed one another in appeasing the Hurriyat and other separatist groups and leaders. Most of the times, particularly when they are in opposition, the Valley’s mainstream politicians have echoed what the separatists have asserted day in and day out.
Deferment of the exams was initiated as a demand by the Hurriyat. One can reproduce it without any fear from the higher authorities. Hurriyat and other separatist groups have been daily issuing statement critical of the ‘nocturnal raids’ to arrest the youths. During the same period, when the attacks began mounting on schools and Education Minister was caught in the eye of a storm, a national daily exposed how a prominent leader’s granddaughter had continued her studies with DPS Srinagar without disturbance and how her internal exams had been conducted at Indoor Stadium, a CRPF company headquarters for over 25 years now.
The statement from intelligentsia steered clear of it all and did selectively project what the Hurriyat has been demanding. Some people across Pir Panjal mountain have dismissed it as ‘hypocrisy and intellectual bankruptcy’, though it is effortlessly understandable that nobody in the Valley’s hostile atmosphere can sail against the storm.
Like on many occasions in the past, it was none other than the guerrilla camp itself that pioneered condemning the burning of schools. United Jehad Council’s and Hizbul Mujahideen’s Pakistan-based supremo Syed Salahuddin called the miscreants as “stooges of the government” who, according to him, were torching the educational institutes for the purpose of “defaming the freedom struggle”.
On Monday, Salahuddin’s statement was followed by almost all the mainstream and separatist outfits, each of them invariably condemning burning of the schools. This speaks volumes about the originality and straightforwardness of the Valley’s political, social, religious and intellectual leaders. Had they come forward and said what the UJC chief today said, they would have run a risk but definitely lived as hallowed leaders in the State’s political history.
[For STATE TIMES]