Schools reopen amid curfew in Valley

Miscreants attack buses carrying students in some areas; Geelani calls for general strike today

Schools reopen amid curfew in Valley

According to the reports, the attendance of students was very thin in most schools, while teachers had turned up in large number.

However, Education Minister Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed said 80 per cent of students attended schools in rural areas, whereas urban centres recorded 30 to 40 per cent of attendance.

“In Srinagar 28 per cent students resumed their learning activities in different government and private educational institutions,” he said.

Some vehicles carrying students also came under attack at a few places. The authorities had enforced strict curfew since morning.

Stone-pelting incidents
However, students and their parents were allowed to proceed towards their schools. 28 buses of the State Road Transport Corporation were pressed into service to carry students to schools and back.

Among those eight vehicles were damaged in stone-pelting incidents.

Geelani, spearheading the strikes and protests, had asked the people not to send their children to schools as the “government wanted to sabotage the Quit Kashmir movement by reopening schools.”

The hardline leader had asked for a complete general strike and civil curfew.
On Monday, he described as misleading the government claim regarding the high percentage of students going to schools.

“I am not against education but for us our movement is more important. I did not call strike only today. I have been doing so for the last four months. But the government deliberately made it issue. If it was concerned for education why it imposed curfew,” Geelani said. He appealed to the people to observe strike on Tuesday as part of his fresh 10-day protest calendar.

Taimoor Maqbool, a 10th class student of the leading Chrishtian Burn Hall School said he was happy being at school again.

“But only six students out of 50 in my class had come. We did not study. As the situation turned tensed in the city, the school authorities asked us to leave at 12.30 pm instead of the scheduled 3 pm. Since my father could not pick me up due to the curfew, I had to walk eight km to reach home,” he said.

An official said among the over 3,000 students in various schools, only 145 attended classes. “In the morning we sent school buses to pick students. But they had to return to school half way due to stone pelting and tension. Later in the afternoon we could not send buses to drop students.

“We requested parents to pick their children up but they expressed their helplessness saying they were not being allowed by securitymen due to the curfew. Subsequently, most of them had to return homes on their own,” he said.

Abdul Qayoom, who dropped his son at Tyndale Biscoe School in the morning, faced problems while returning home.

“I requested the securitymen to allow me to proceed as I had dropped my son at the school. But they did not allow me,” he said.

Most of the schools in the old city of Srinagar either remained closed or registered thin attendance. Lack of transport also created problem. Indu Kumari, a teacher had to walk eight km on foot to reach her school. “The government should have made adequate transport arrangements if it was really serious for reopening schools,” she said.

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