SRINAGAR: The move to open primary schools to restore a semblance of normalcy in Valley, where everyday life has been crippled by a clampdown since the scrapping of Article 370 on August 5, did not yield the desired results for the government on Monday.
The government had decided to open 190 out of 900 primary schools in ‘safe areas’ of Srinagar after easing curfew-like restrictions for two consecutive days. There was thin attendance of students after parents shied away from sending their wards to schools owing to the prevailing tense situation in Kashmir.
Missionary schools in Srinagar including Burhanhall School, Biscoe and Mallinson Girls Higher secondary school were also open.
“I arrived at the school at 7.30 am. And throughout the day, we waited for the students but none came,” said a teacher at Presentation Convent School at Rajbagh.
In city centre Lal Chowk, Kothibagh Girls High School was also presenting a deserted look.
“None of the parents sent their wards up to class 5 to the school. We were expecting some attendance,” said a teacher of the school. No students turned up at the J&K Police Public School, which is run by J&K police.
Zahoor Ahmed, whose son studies in Class III, said, “You don’t know what is going to happen. In such circumstances, a parent cannot risk to send his kid to school. How can we communicate with the school in case of any exigency in view of communication blockade in Valley?”
Director Information Syed Sehrish Asgar said that out of 190 schools opened in Srinagar, staff ranging from 30-50 per cent was present in 166 schools.
She, however, said attendance of students in all the schools was thin. Sehrish added that middle schools would be opened from Wednesday.
Director School Education Kashmir Yousuf Malik said, “In Shopian and Damhal Hanjipora in south Kashmir, students attendance was nil.”
Meanwhile, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval briefed Home Minister Amit Shah on the prevailing situation in J&K.
Restrictions eased but shops keep shutters down
Although authorities eased security restrictions in uptown Srinagar and other parts of the Valley, shops and establishments continued to remain shut and public transport off the roads. DIG, central Kashmir, V K Birdi said relaxations were released in 50% police stations in the Valley.
The government restored BSNL landlines in some areas. But mobile phones and internet services remained suspended.
The government has said 25,000 landlines have been made functional so far. There were incidents of stone-pelting at Nageen, Safa Kadal, Chanapora and other areas of Srinagar and some other parts of Valley.
Habeas corpus plea filed over Shah Faesal’s detention
A habeas corpus petition filed in Delhi High Court on Monday said Shah Faesal was illegally detained at IGI Airport in New Delhi when he was his way to Harvard University.
The plea was moved on behalf of Faesal through a pariorkar or next of friend, Mohd Hussain Cader.
A bench of Justices Manmohan and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal did not issue notice and listed the matter for hearing on August 23 after the Centre, through Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, said it will file a response.
The plea said Faesal was scheduled to travel to Boston, USA, via Istanbul and Frankfurt, to complete his Masters in Public Administration.