The protests by students against the state government's decision to conduct Class 10th and 12th examinations in November this year continued across Kashmir on Saturday, with various student groups calling the move as an attempt to "politicize education." Demanding deferment of the examinations in view of the prevailing situation in Kashmir, the protesting students said they can't write the examinations at a time when civilians including students were getting killed or injured in forces' action.
For the past many days, several groups of students have been staging protest demonstrations in different areas of Srinagar including Rambagh, Safa Kadal, Kara Nagar, Saida Kadal and others, asking the government to defer the examinations.
"We are ready for the exams but let government first ensure treatment of those students who were either blinded or injured in action by police and forces for the past three months," a group of students said at Karan Nagar. "We will not sit in exams without Insha, Danish, Basit, Aaqash and Yasir—the students blinded by pellets."
The protests haven't remained confined to Srinagar only.
Scores of students, mostly girls of Class 10th and 12th, staged massive protests in Nusoo area of North Kashmir's Bandipora district on Monday, asserting that they won't sit in any examination till Kashmir issue is resolved. The students, who held placards, marched from Nusoo to Gulshan Chowk, shouting slogans against J&K's Education Minister Naeem Akhter.
"First heal our wounded Kashmir, then talk of examinations," read a placard held by the protesting students. "The issue is not that we have only completed 40 percent syllabus but Kashmir continues to suffer. Innocent students are being killed," the protesters said.
They said the government forces on one had ransack houses, "tear apart our books and dance on them and on the other, the government is asking us to appear in the exams".
Similar protests were held by students in Aloosa village of Bandipora. They were shouting slogans including "boycott, boycott, exam boycott".
"How it is possible for us to appear in the exams when hundreds of students have been blinded and maimed and hundreds lodged in different jails across Kashmir," asked the protesting students.
In central Kashmir's Ganderbal district hundreds of the students from government run and private educational institutions carrying placards demanded deferment of the examinations.
A group of students said they have completed only 40 percent of syllabus and are "living under constant fear." "There is no logic of conducting exams in present situation. The Government just wants to restore normalcy and has nothing to do with our future," they said. The protesting students marched from Alkhudam 90-ft road to Pandachh Chowk and after reaching old Ganderbal-Buchpura road disbursed peacefully.
Opposition National Conference too hit out at the PDP-led Government for what it said politicizing education. The party's Provisional President, Nasir Aslam Wani, said deferment of examination would be in the interest of students. "The students who are yet to complete half of their syllabi should not be forced to appear in examinations. It would put their educational career at stake," he said. Wani said class 12 students must have required percentage of marks obtained in the annual examination to be eligible for competitive tests. He said the government should defer the examinations as was done when floods hit Kashmir in 2014. The Board of School Education (BOSE) has issued date-sheet for both class 10 and class 12 students and scheduled the examinations in November. Naeem Akhtar, on the other hand, said the examinations would be held as planned.