2 schools designated as polling stations torched in South Kashmir

In times of elections, the schools and colleges occupied by security forces and designated as polling stations became the first casualty as the institutions faces maximum brunt from both sides.
2 schools designated as polling stations torched in South Kashmir
Photo: Kamran Yousuf/GK

In times of elections, the schools and colleges occupied by security forces and designated as polling stations became the first casualty as the institutions faces maximum brunt from both sides.

Two days ahead of by-polls in Anantnag parliamentary constituency, two government schools designated as polling stations were set afire by unknown persons in Shopian and Pulwama districts of South Kashmir.

Officials said a building of Government Upper Primary School (UPS) in Padderpora area of Shopian was set on fire during the intervening night of April 9 and 10.

"The school was designated as polling station and was set on fire around 12 midnight," Chief Education Officer (CEO) Shopian, Mohammad Sadiq said.

Another school designated as polling station in Pulwama district was torched in Arihal area of Pulwama district Sunday evening.

"Some unknown persons tried to torch the building but the fire was put out by police personnel with the help of local residents," an official said.

CEO Pulwama Abdul Hamid Kumar said the flames were put under control. "The school was designated as polling station for upcoming polls in Anantnag," Kumar said.

On election day for Srinagar parliament constituency, over a dozen government schools designated as polling stations were attacked by people who forced the polling staff as well as the paramilitary forces to wind up the polling stations.

Officials said schools designated as polling stations in Budgam district were worst hit due to stone pelting by youth.

In Beerwah, youth barged inside Government Girls Higher Secondary School (GHSS) and damaged the pillars of the school gate and windows.

In Nasrullahpora village of Budgam, Government Boys Middle School – designated as polling station – was ransacked by angry people who hurled stones at the CRPF troops deployed in the school.

In Kanihama and Aripathan area of Beerwah two government schools designated as polling stations were damaged due to stone pelting.

"Youth attacked these school buildings with stones soon after polling began," local residents in Aripathan said.

Chief Education Officer (CEO) Budgam Inderjeet Sharma said most of the schools which were designated as polling stations were attacked and faced infrastructural loss.

"As per our reports some schools are partially damaged while some have been damaged severally. We are collecting figures from the concerned Zonal authorities to get the exact number of schools damaged on the election day," Sharma said.

Earlier, scores of government schools were taken over by paramilitary troops in central Kashmir districts ahead of paramilitary polls.

"After the schools were taken over by security forces, the classroom furniture was thrown out of the buildings by troops," said a headmaster whose school has been occupied by CRPF.

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