Kashmir Unrest: 32 School Buildings Destroyed in Fire in Past 3 Months

As many as 32 schools have been targeted by unknown persons since the unrest began in Kashmir on July 8 following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces.

A school building was gutted in a fire in Bandipora district of Kashmir, taking the number of schools damaged during the ongoing unrest in the Valley to 32, police said on Saturday.

“A fire broke out in old building of Government High School (which housed a primary school) at Saidnara in Bandipora district last night,” a police official said.

He said fire tenders were rushed to the spot but could not save the building from being destroyed.

Police said it has taken cognisance of the incident and started investigation to ascertain the cause of fire.

Jammu and Kashmir High Court last week took suo moto cognisance of the incidents and directed the state government to ensure that the schools are protected.

The issue of burning down of educational institutions came under legal scrutiny on November 1 when Jammu and Kashmir High Court took a suo motu cognisance of news report about burning down of schools in the Valley.

The High Court directed police and civil administration to ensure the protection of the institutions besides unmasking the “mysterious enemies of education” and deal with them with an “iron hand”.

The court listed the case for next hearing on November 7 and directed the three officials to remain present.

Nobel Peace laureate Kailash Satyarthi on Thursday termed the burning of schools in Kashmir as unacceptable and claimed that extremists are doing it as they are scared that education will open up the minds of children and they wouldt be able to use them for their vested interests.

Muzzafar Wani, father of Hizbul commander Burhan whose killing sparked unrest in Kashmir, on November 1 expressed “deep pain” over the burning down of schools in the Valley and made a fervent appeal to those behind it to refrain from targeting educational institutions.

[Source:News 18]