While the Jammu and Kashmir government ordered reopening of schools in four Valley districts from Thursday, the decision came in for severe criticism from people who accused the state authorities of "jeopardizing the safety of our kids amid stringent curfew." The police on Thursday categorically stated that curfew, which entered its 13th today, is on and that there shall be no relaxation in the curbs "till further orders."
While the government had last night, much to the annoyance of parents, ordered re-opening of schools in Bandipora, Budgam, Ganderbal and Baramulla districts allegedly in bid to break the ongoing protests, the police on Thursday afternoon issued a formal statement which verbatim read: "There will be no relaxation in curfew and restrictions across the Kashmir Valley. The curfew and restrictions will remain strictly in place throughout the day till further orders."
While the government attempted to re-open a section of schools, parents kept their wards at their homes in the wake of fears of their safety.
According to reports gathered by Greater Kashmir from its district-level correspondents, a vast majority of schools in the four identified districts remained closed on Thursday. In far-off rural pockets in these districts, our correspondents however said, some schools were open amid very thin attendance of students and the staff.
As per reports, educational institutions in Ganderbal town were closed and even teachers didn't turn up. In Budgam, Bandipora and Baramulla, the situation was same.
"Ministers are issuing orders from their highly-fortified bungalows while they don't themselves gather courage to move out. Despite the volatile situation on ground, they are issuing insensitive orders which is highly condemnable. It is simply playing politics with the life of school-going children," said Irshad Ahmad, a parent.
The parents have criticized the "insensitive directive" of the government which they fear will put the lives of students to grave risk.
On its part, the School Education department admitted that their directive had "no takers".
"Government issued reopening order late in the evening which could not be communicated to teachers and non-teaching staff, resulting in closure of schools at many places," said a senior official, who insisted not to be named. "Further, the continuation of curfew foiled our directive."
In an official statement issued by the Information department, the Commission/Secretary School Education, Shaleen Kabra, claimed schools in some districts of the valley and winter zone of Jammu division opened today after summer vacation.