The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday directed police and civil administration officials to devise modes and methods for protecting schools which have become target of miscreants in the ongoing unrest in the Valley. “All the three responsible officers present in the court are directed to sit together along with higher authorities and lower officials and to devise modes and methods which will be effective in protecting school institutions,” a division bench of the court said.
The directions were issued to the Inspector General of Police, the Divisional Commissioner and the Director of School Education of Kashmir. The high court took suo motu cognizance of the reports about 26 schools being burnt in Kashmir Valley over the past 115 days of the unrest which started following the killing of terrorist organisation Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in early July.
The case was heard by Justices Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and Ali Mohammad Magrey. The court also directed the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police to issue necessary instructions to their district level officers including Deputy Commissioners and SPs to take all preventive measures as shall be necessary for saving the school buildings from being burnt and to ensure that no other school building is harmed or destroyed.
“Further the mysterious enemies of education shall be unmasked and dealt with iron hand,” the court said. The bench lashed out at the state government, saying the “administrative authorities are required to have resort to protective measures but they are still in deep slumber, appear not to have devised any protective policy for protecting school buildings”.
The bench observed that the mysterious burning of centres of learning has sent shock waves awakening all to ponder. “Education is the main factor for intellectual excellence and prosperity. Imparting education in the centres of learning has no other viable substitute,” it added.
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The court also expressed hope that the “mysterious persons” will stop burning school buildings and “also hope that the citizens will also help in protecting school buildings”. The court listed the case for next hearing on November 7 and directed the three officials to remain present.