Schools in the Kashmir valley are set to re-open on Monday after remaining shut for almost seven months since the abrogation of Article 370 by the Parliament. Officials of the Jammu and Kashmir education department said all arrangements had been put in place for the students to attend schools after the institutions remained shut for months since August after scrapping of its special status and due to winter break.
The government made several efforts to re-open the schools last year in a phased manner, however, the efforts bore no fruits as parents kept their children away over apprehensions about their safety. Towards the end of 2019, while schools were open, PTI reported that students were asked to attend classes without wearing uniforms.
Kashmir School Education Director Mohammad Younis Malik said all arrangements had been put in place and the timing for the schools falling within Srinagar's municipal limits will be 10 am-3 pm, while in the rest of Kashmir division, the timing will be 10.30 am-3.30 pm. The director urged the teachers to work with dedication to building capacities of the students for their better future. "It's our responsibility to extend our support to them and redouble efforts to get their syllabus completed well in time," the director said. He instructed the field officers to visit schools regularly to monitor the follow up of academic planner for the timely accomplishment of the set targets.
Restrictions have been put on communication links since August 5. These were subsequently eased. The Internet is functional at a few places through leased lines. Mobile internet facility has been made functional but with a speed of 2G with special instructions that it would not be used to access social media sites.
Meanwhile, some mainstream Kashmiri leaders are still kept under detention, while former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and a former BJP ally Mehbooba Mufti have been charged under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA), just hours before the completion of their six months-long detention. On February 15, IAS officer turned politician, Shah Faesal was slapped with PSA. The Jammu & Kashmir People's Movement (JKPM) was detained at Delhi airport and was put under house arrest. As per rules, the preventive detention can be extended beyond six months only if an advisory board, constituted two weeks before the completion of the 180-day period, recommends for that.
(With PTI inputs)