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Need to keep education away from Kashmir unrest: CPI (M)

Jammu, April 9: The leadership of Jammu and Kashmir cutting across political ideologies needs to come together to ensure that students’ education remains unaffected in the prevailing unrest in Kashmir, the CPI(M) said today.
The appeal by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) comes even as Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi to apprised him of the overall situation in J and K, stressing the need to end the cycle of violence by addressing alienation among the youth.
CPI(M) leader and MLA M Y Tarigami said, “We have a short academic session in Kashmir already which is further shrunk by public holidays, strike calls and curfews.”
Combining the number of shutdown calls, curfews, public holidays, winter and summer vacations, educational institutions in Kashmir remain open for less than 150 days, he said.
“Education remains an indispensable social institution and remains to be a single most potent tool of development around the globe,” Tarigami said, adding, “can’t all of us think to find and devise some mechanism so that education doesn’t suffer due to the ongoing unrest?”
“We urged leadership cutting across political ideologies to come together so that precious time of students in Kashmir isn’t wasted due to the prevailing situation,” he said.
“This will need the highest degree of political maturity, strong feeling for a social commitment and support from the executive and mass awareness about the superiority education over all other affairs,” the Left party leader said.
Tarigami said that apart from the loss of human lives which is irreparable and painful, the loss of precious academic days of students due to strikes, clashes and curfews is the second biggest loss.
“Precious academic days have been already lost in the current academic session which in long run will result in our students remaining behind in competitive exams,” he said.
He said there are several examples in world, where despite wars, unrest and other problems leadership ensured that education doesn’t suffer.
“Unrest and violence in the Valley has affected young minds the most. The current situation is a throwback to the situation in the early 1990s when educational institutions almost remained closed most of the times,” he recalled.
The CPI(M) leader said that the situation resulted in Kashmiri students lagging far behind in competitive exams at national level during that period.
Although literacy rate in the state has risen by more than 10 per cent in the last 17 years from 55 per cent in 2001 (as per government figures), however, it is still much lesser than the national average of 74.04 per cent, he said.
“When we talk of empowerment, it is only education which can empower us. Education is not merely about employment but it takes a person on the path of knowledge and emancipation. Education is undoubtedly a key element contributing to empowerment. Without education there cannot be empowerment,” he said.