The ongoing skirmishes between the armies of India and Pakistan along the Line of Control are not only resulting in the loss of lives and property, but are also severely affecting the teaching-learning process in border areas, where hundreds of schools are located in the firing range.
Highly placed sources told Greater Kashmir that schools of six zones in Poonch district and six zones in Rajouri district are located in the firing zone (0-5 kilometre range of LoC).
Pertinently, the firing zone is regarded as a ‘sensitive zone’, owing to heavy pounding during cross-border exchange of mortars and artillery shells.
In Poonch district, forty four education institutions of Poonch zone, sixty of Balakote zone, eighteen of Kunaiyan zone, fifty six of Mendhar zone, thirty six of Mankote zone and twenty six of Nangali zone are notified to be in 0-5 kilometres range. All these schools remained closed for 17 days in between
February 15 to March 15, as high tension was witnessed along the Line of Control post the Pulwama attack, sources said.
In Rajouri district, ten schools located in Rajouri zone are in the firing range, fifty six in Doongi zone, fifty eight in Manjakote zone, fifty four in Nowshera zone, twenty eight in Dandesar zone and eight schools are located in Sunderbani zone. Several of these schools also remained closed, but for different periods of time, sources said.
Ramesh Kumar, a resident of Kalal in Nowshera, told Greater Kashmir that the period in between February 15 to March 15 was similar to “war” for the border residents, as heavy firing and shelling was witnessed day in and day out.
“How will our kids concentrate on studies when the entire area is rattling with shelling and bullets are passing over the roof of the classroom?” Hanif Ahmed from Manjakote forward village asked.
The locals appealed to the authorities to come up with a proper policy for the students enrolled in schools located in shelling-affected areas and to meet the loss of their studies due to firing.
They also appealed to bring in a system of grace marks for the shelling-affected students of the border areas.
Director school education, Jammu, Anuradha Gupta assured to look into the demand if she receives a representation about it from the field.