Udhampur, October 28 (NIA): Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Friday charged that separatists are not allowing schools in the Kashmir Valley to function because they want a new generation of uneducated youths who can pelt stones and can be used as “cannon fodder”.
But Syed Ali Geelani, Chairman of the separatist group Hurriyat Conference (G), said that schools cannot function when Indian army troops and police are on the rampage and there is no calm in the state.And calm can be restored only by the government.
Mehbooba said separatists are exploiting children from poor families by instigating them to attack army camps, police stations and Central Reserve Police Force camps and were using them as shields, while their own children are safe.
It is the poor kids who are kept out of schools deliberately, who are getting hurt and not the sons of the rich, she pointed out.
“Today I see that big leaders feel that if schools open, poor children will get an education and then they will not have time for stone pelting,” she said.
Stressing that leaders who give preference to the future and education of the children are needed and not the ones who use them as cannon fodder, she said, “for three months our schools are closed, we tried and even Delhi sent big delegations.
“Our Home Minister (Rajnath Singh) came thrice, our Finance Minister (Arun Jaitley) went there and an allparty delegation also went to meet them but they closed doors for them.
“The reply to the request of a civil society delegation led by Yashwant Sinha, which completed its three-day visit to Kashmir on Thursday, was given by burning two schools,” the Chief Minister said.
“A civil society delegation went to meet the separatists and they opened their doors for them. The team told them that the future of children is getting spoiled and for God’s sake help us to keep schools open. The reply came in the form of two burnt schools,” Mehbooba said.
With the unrest in the Valley continuing for over a hundred days, she alleged that the separatists want children should get hurt to keep the “pot boiling”.
Those hurt are kids from poor families not the sons of the rich, she pointed out.
Hurriyat Says No To Opening Schools
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Geelani had said that examinations cannot be held in the prevailing situation in Kashmir.
“If the authorities are really concerned about education, they should release all people including students and withdraw cases against them to help in creating a conducive and peaceful atmosphere,” he said on Thursday.
Geelani was interacting with the visiting delegation from New Delhi which called on him at his Hyderpora residence this morning. The delegation led by former Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, stressed on re-opening schools education. Students should not lose a complete academic year they said.
But Geelani told the team that while education is a must, it can thrive only in a calm, peaceful and dignified atmosphere.
“Mere attendance in schools may sooth the eyes of the perpetrators of state violence and the jingoistic media may capture them in their lenses to portray an illusory breakthrough, but these innocent kids will be far from getting an education as they are mentally and psychologically disturbed and terrified,” he said.
He said ensuring peace and calm is the constitutional responsibility of those holding “reins of power with lakhs of army troops, police and paramilitary muscle in addition to bureaucratic authority supported by legal tools.”