3 school teachers detained under PSA in Shopian

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Three teachers of a religious school in Shopian district of south Kashmir were arrested Monday under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) for allegedly “spreading hatred while teaching,” police said.

Police said the three were booked under the PSA — which allows authorities to detain a person for up to two years without a trial — after it came to the fore that some of the school’s students and alumni were involved in militant activities.

The police action came a day after the PTI reported that the religious school was under the scanner of investigating agencies after 13 of its students were allegedly found to have joined militant groups.

Kashmir Inspector General of Police (IGP) Vijay Kumar told a press conference here the school is affiliated with the banned Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) outfit.

“The school’s name is Siraj ul Uoom Imam Sahib. It is not that this school has not been under observation. We have already booked three teachers of the school namely Abdul Ahad Bhat, Rouf Bhat and Mohammad Yusuf Wani under the PSA,” Kumar told the reporters.

The IG Police said about half a dozen other teachers of the school were under surveillance.

“(Conduct of) five to six teachers of the school are under surveillance (under Section 107 CrPC). Basically, the affiliation of the school is with JeI. It is under surveillance, and right now we are taking action against individuals and if need arises, we will take action against the school,” the IGP said.

Section 107 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) deals with any likely breach of peace or public tranquility.

The school mainly has students from Kulgam, Pulwama and Anantnag districts of South Kashmir.

The Public Safety Act (PSA) enables authorities to detain any individual for two years without a trial.

However chairman of the school Siraj Ul Uloom Muhammad Yousuf Matoo called these allegations as baseless.

Taking to KNS, he said, “We refute these allegations, some of the students who became militants had already left the seminary and were home for a longer period before joining the militant ranks.”

Regarding Sajad Bhat who is accused in the Lethpora Pulwama attack, he said, “We have no role in it. Sajad, who police say was involved in Lethpora attack, has been a student here for some months and had left our seminary long back. He was at his home and reportedly was a mechanic before joining militants. How come our religious school has a role in it.”

He also refuted the affiliation of the teachers with the school mentioned by police. “None of the teachers which police claims were arrested have been our teachers ever.”

He added, “They talk about Baramulla student, he was here for 10 to 12 days in March during lockdown. Then some time back he had come back to submit the form.

He also said his institute is recognised by the Government.

“We are open to answer every question to any media group. They can come and check our teaching and other affairs here. Anyone can check about our finances, syllabus, resources. We are registered with the income tax department.”

“NCERT syllabus is being taught here. Our oriental college is affiliated with BOSE and Kashmir University,” he said.