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Jan 26 function: Female participants did best to protect their identities

January 27, 2018

Srinagar, Jan 26: Caught between a rock and a hard place, most female participants at SK Stadium here on Friday appeared wary of revealing their faces.
The participants, dancing on Kashmiri folk songs in the January 26 function, tried their best to cover their faces with headscarves or lowered their heads, especially when photographed.
Away from its traditional venue, the event was held in the Cricket Stadium, which is more open than Bakshi Stadium.
The participants were from various government-run schools and colleges, who on the directions of the government had participated in the event.
Their apprehension was expected, given that militants had recently threatened a school principal in south Kashmir against sending his students to any January-26 event.
In the video, the militant had threatened to set students’ houses on fire if they participated in any event.
Apart from the threats, sources said, the female participants feared retribution on social media, knowing their photos would be shared on it.
They said that many among them had sought permission from their institute heads for not revealing their identity to the media and spectators either.
“Under current circumstances when the militants have already threatened a principal for dire consequences many are fearful that they may face similar problems,” sources said.
They said that many schools have not even participated in the event in various districts.
“Earlier such events would be held at towns and villages where locals students would participate in the function held be administration or army. But now since last many years students don’t participate in much number,” they said.
The government earlier this week also locked three private schools and warned two others in Anantnag district of de-recognition for their refusal to participate in upcoming January 26 function, due to volatile situation in south Kashmir.

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