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Protests and holidays: Schools lose 25 working days since March 1

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Srinagar, Apr 20: Schools in Kashmir have remained closed for 25 days owing to protests and holidays in the last one and a half month.
While the government high and higher secondary schools opened on February 26, class work in the primary and middle schools of the valley began onMarch 5.
The teaching staff of the schools was asked to report at respective schools on February 23 by the government.
From March 1 till April 15, schools in north and central Kashmir including private institutions opened for “just 20 days”, official sources told the Kashmir Monitor.
The number of working days at the schools in south Kashmir was even lesser with the institutions there being able to conduct classes for “just 13 days” in the last month and a half, the sources said.
Students in the valley schools have been protesting since 12 militants and four civilians were killed in three separate encounters in south Kashmir on April 1.
Three forces personnel were also killed in the encounters.
The protests by the students demanding justice for the 8-year-old girl from Kathua, who was brutally raped and murdered in January, have only gained strength of late.
The students protesting both against the south Kashmir killings and the girl’s rape and murder have been indulging in massive clashes with the government forces resulting in injuries to both the sides.
At Srinagar’s SP Higher Secondary School, classes could be conducted for only 23 days since it opened on February 26, a school insider said.
While the rest of the institutions have been functioning as relatively normally, the authorities have been forced to close schools in particular areas in the last few weeks.
While the School Education Department recently said that it had devised a separate academic calendar, private schools in the valley have begun to conduct classes on Sundays to compensate the loss.
Although “90 per cent” of the institutions in Kashmir conducted classes last Sunday, Chairman Private Schools Association Kashmir (PSAK), G N Var wanted the government to bring a formal order in this regard.
“For that matter, why cannot even the government schools conduct classes on Sundays?” Var asked.
The School Education, Var suggested, “should be made an essential service and politics neutral”.
Var said that “as a goodwill gesture”, they would even accommodate the students of the adjacent government schools in case the government issues formal orders to them to work on Sundays.
While the J&K Board of School Education (BOSE) recommended at least 180 working days for the schools in line with the National Curriculum Framework (NCF)-2005, Var said that the target in outside states was 230 days.
“By the number of days the schools opened in this academic session, you can only imagine how much we lag behind,” he added.


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3 militants killed in Baramulla gunfight

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Srinagar, Jan 23: Three militants were killed in an encounter between militants and government forces at Binner village of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Wednesday.

Quoting official sources said that three militants had been killed while searches were still underway.

The slain trio was affiliated with Lashkar-e-Toiba militants. “They were identified as Shoaib Akhoon of Khanpora, Mosin Mushtaq of Qazihamam and Nissar Darzi of Jamia Mohalla Old Town,” the news agency quoted an anonymous army officer saying.

 

Earlier, SSP Baramulla Imtiyaz Hussain also confirmed the exchange of firing between militants and joint team of police and other government forces in the area.

A police spokesman said based on a credible input about the presence of militants in Binner, forces launched a cordon and search operation in the area.“As the searches were going on, the search party was fired upon by the militants. The fire was retaliated leading to a gunfight,” the spokesman said.

“In the ensuing encounter, three militants were killed and the bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter. Their identities and affiliations are being ascertained,” he said.

“Incriminating material including arms and ammunition was recovered from the site of encounter. Police have registered a case and initiated investigation in the matter,” he added.

“Citizens are requested not to venture inside the encounter zone since such an area can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials. People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosive materials if any,” the spokesman said.

 

Six militants buried after multiple funerals

Srinagar, Jan 23: Thousands of people on Wednesday participated in the multiple funerals of six militants, including the brother of an IPS officer, in Shopian and Pulwama districts in south Kashmir.

Three Hizbul Mujahideen militants–Shamsul Haq Mengnoo son of Mohammad Rafiq of Dragad Shopian, Aamir Suhail Bhat son of Abdul Aziz of Chidipora Chitragam Shopian, Shoaib Ahmad Shah son of Ghulam Rasool of Shermal Shopian–were killed in a gunfight with government forces in Shirmal area of Zainapora, Wednesday.

Shamsul Haq had left studies at Bachelors of Unani Medicine and Surgery (BUMS) at government college here in Zakura campus and joined militant ranks in May last year. His elder brother, Inam-ul Haq, is a 2012-batch IPS officer and presently posted in North East.

Eyewitnesses said that a large number of people participated in funeral prayers of the slain militants at their respective villages.
At Chidipora, there were minor clashes between government forces and youth. The government forces fired few rounds in air but there were no reports about any injury to anyone.

Apart from them, funeral prayers were also offered for three militants of Al-Badr militant outfit— Sabzar Ahmad son of Ali Mohammad Mir of Lassipora Pulwama, Syed Rabani son of Mohammad Hussain of Nazneenpora Shopian and Towseef Ahmad Itoo son of Abdul Aziz of Nowpora Payeen Pulwama. The trio from were killed in a gunfight Hapatnar area in Budgam on Monday.

At Shoaib’s and Syed Rabani’s funerals at Shermal and Nazneenpora Shopian, some militants appeared and offered gun salutes to the slain, reports said.

Reports said that multiple funerals were offered to the slain. Later the slain were laid to rest at their respective native places. A spontaneous shutdown continued on the second consecutive day in Shopian and Pulwama to mourn the killings. Shops and other business establishments are closed while traffic was off the road in the twin districts where internet also remained suspended by the authorities. (GNS)

 

Srinagar grenade attacks:Six arrests made so far: DGP

Srinagar, Jan 23: Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh Wednesday said that six persons have been arrested so far in connection with the recent grenade attacks in summer capital, Srinagar.

Singh was quoted saying so by news agency Kashmir News Service, that “one person was arrested with the help of Delhi police.”

“Militants were planning to hurl more grenades in public places, but the police successfully busted their module,” he told the news agency.

About the January 26 function, the DGP said all the preparations have been done in Srinagar and other districts of the valley. “Militant organisations are hell-bent to disrupt January 26 function. They have been making such attempts in the past as well by throwing grenades to discourage and pressurize people,” he was quoted saying.

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R-Day event: Frisking intensified, traffic diversions in city from today

Kashmir News Service

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Srinagar, Jan 23: The security has been beefed up across Kashmir valley especially in the summer capital Srinagar in view of the Republic Day (January 26) functioned to be held here. All the entry and exit points under close security vigil while some important roads suspended for vehicular movement.
ADGP Law and Order Muneer Ahmed Khan told KNS that the security arrangements have been finalised for the Republic Day function. “We have made all the arrangements and only the drill is to be followed,” he said.
Asked in wake of the grenade attacks if there is a security concern, Khan said all the necessary arrangements have been done and full-proof security apparatus is in place. “All important entry and exit points across the city are manned by security forces and other security equipments,” he said.
Meanwhile, the traffic police has suspended traffic on some key city roads causing inconvenience to people.
The City Traffic Police said that due to security reasons the traffic movement from Sonawar upto Ram Munshi Bagh Road stretch including Dalgate-Ram Munshi Bagh, Radio Kashmir-Ram Munshi Bagh & Gupkar-Ram Munshi Bagh will remain suspended on 24th and 26th of January-2019 from early morning hours upto 1400 hours.
The motorists intending to travel from South Kashmir-Pantha Chowk towards City Centre shall adopt Bypass road stretch and vice versa. Similarly the motorists intending to travel South Kashmir from City Centre and Down Town areas shall adopt Batamaloo-Tengpora-Bypass or Rambagh-Natipora road stretch to reach Pantha Chowk. Any inconvenience caused is highly regretted.

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POLL TACTICS: Parties resort to rhetoric, rejig undone manifestos

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Jan 23: With J&K administration gearing up for the elections, the political parties in the state have again resorted to their age-old technique: use unaccomplished manifestos with a new twist to woo the voters.

Before 2014, PDP president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti would visit militants’ families.

In their manifesto then, the party promised that if brought to power, it would initiate dialogue with Pakistan and Hurriyat, and also demand an end to the killings in Kashmir.

 

The PDP was highly vocal then about revocation of the draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).

Mehbooba, during her election campaign in 2014, once said the people of Kashmir will never sell their conscience to support the BJP.

But then she allied with the same party and at one point in time during 2016 uprising tried to justify civilian killings with her infamous ‘toffee or milk remark’.

Fast forward to 2019 and we see Mehbooba trying to weave the same story: visiting militant families, calling for Indo-Pak dialogue, talks with the separatist groups and end to civilian killings.

Recently, she even said that PDP would seek return of power projects, something her party’s manifesto read in 2014 as well.

Ask PDP Chief Spokesperson Rafi Ahmad Mir, he says their stand about dialogue ‘has not changed’. “Whether in or out of power, our stand is clear. Talks shall be held with Pakistan and Hurriyat to find a peaceful solution to Kashmir,” Mir told The Kashmir Monitor.

Mir said it was during Mufti Sayeed’s tenure “when peace returned to the valley”.

“We even formed the government with the BJP based on an agenda. Unfortunately, it could not finish its term,” he said.

Mehbooba Mufti played to the gallery when scores of civilians were killed during the National Conference-Congress government in 2010.

In 2016, National Conference (NC) leader, Omar Abdullah, returned her the favour.

Take NC as a case in point. Its repeated promise of the restoration of Autonomy is yet again being glossed up and presented to Kashmir electorate these days.

Party president, Farooq Abdullah recently urged Government of India (GoI) to invite Hurriyat and Pakistan for talks and asserted that if voted to power, his government, on very first day, would set up Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to probe the killings in the state.

General Secretary of the NC, Ali Mohammad Sagar, said restoration of Autonomy has always been the party’s agenda.

“We always advocate for talks with Pakistan and Hurriyat. The AFSPA has to be revoked and security forces have to be pulled out from civilian areas,” Sagar said.

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