Awantipora/ New Delhi: Pakistan aligned separatist groups are trying to demolish the education system in Kashmir. In this attempt, the separatists have torched nearly 32 schools in the Kashmir valley. Concerns are being raised as this has caused a considerable setback in their academic progress. Under such circumstances, the Indian Army has taken an initiative and launched the ‘School Chalo’ campaign to mitigate the educational loss being faced by the Kashmiri students. Through this campaign that started in Awantipora region, the Army has begun teaching the academic syllabus to the students who are unable to attend school.
The separatists have begun aggressive demonstrations in the Kashmir valley after Burhan Wani, the commander of Pakistan acclaimed terrorist group ‘Hizbul Mujahideen’ was killed in a skirmish with the security forces. As a part of these demonstrations that are being conducted since the past four months, the separatists have set ablaze 32 schools and 110 government buildings. Due to these demonstrations, the educational institutions had to remain shut causing a major setback to the Kashmiri students. The separatists began torching schools in an attempt to threaten the entire education system in the state.
While concerns are being raised regarding the academic future of the students, their parents are accusing these separatists for trying to destroy the students’ future. After taking notice of the situation, the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir ordered the state government to provide necessary protection to the educational institutions.
Under this situation, the Indian army which has been deployed for negating terrorism in the Kashmir Valley has taken up ‘School Chalo’ campaign to avoid further loss of students due to the activities of Pakistan sponsored terrorists and separatists. The General-Officer-in-Command of the ‘Victor Force’ unit, Major General Ashok Narula said that while handling their responsibility of security, the Indian Army recognised parents’ concern for their children’s future and safety. Thus, it undertook this campaign to teach the academic syllabus to the Kashmiri children.
In the months of September and October, a campaign was devised to deploy minimal security forces in order to stop the proceedings of terrorists and separatists. Taking into consideration the education of these children, a new campaign has now been undertaken. While schools here have remained shut for nearly four months, 32 schools have been set ablaze. Hence, the ‘School Chalo’ campaign was undertaken which has been receiving a good response said Major General Ashok Narula. Many expedient measures have been undertaken as a part of this campaign. After looking for local teachers, they are being encouraged to teach the students. They have been told to start classes for these students in schools and other locations. The Major General also said that he is confident that instead of picking up stones students will pick up books. An appeal was made to the students using the local announcement system. Along with slogans like “I don’t want money and fame, I only want books and school”, an appeal was being made by the Indian Army to the students to get education under the ‘School Chalo’ campaign as informed by Major General Narula. While 292 local students are being educated in a military school in Pahalgam, not only have they completed their requisite syllabus, but are also done with revision. Hence, Major General Narula is hopeful that more parents would send their children to school.
In Rainpora village, the Army Campaign has been successful in changing parents’ minds to send their children to school. While local teachers are being trained for teaching, other teachers are also giving a boost to the campaign. Rafiq Ahmed, a local teacher said, ‘I have been given the responsibility of educating the children and I am only carrying out my duty’.
Meanwhile, Colonel Dharmendra Yadav from Anantnag, has made an appeal to the parents to send their children to community school. The Army is trained to tackle all types of situations. This includes the task of educating students as well. Also, a ‘Naujawan Club’ has been opened for the local children and youth to display their talents in sports. Certain Pakistani elements have been trying to instigate the youth and are offering them money to carry out stone pelting and demonstrations. In order to keep the Kashmiri children and youth away from such ploys, efforts are being taken in this direction through the campaign.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir’s Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti has appealed to the children and youth to disown this path of demonstrations. She also said that she wished to see children and youth with laptops and pens in their hands. Ironically the separatists trying to break down the educational system in Kashmir, aimed at disrupting the students, are the ones that send their own children to other parts of India or abroad for higher education. The Indian Army without giving any regard to their lives have not only saved the youth that have been pelting stones which have been instigated by the separatists but also the entire public in the wake of flash floods caused due to heavy rainfall. Here, once again are the Indian soldiers who have taken the lead to help the Kashmiri students who have faced major setbacks in their academics.