Unknown arsonists on Sunday set ablaze a school building in a south Kashmir village, pushing the number of educational institutes gutted in mysterious fires to 25 during the ongoing unrest.
The police said the residents detected the fire in the central government-run Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya in Aishmuqam of Anantnag district. The fire was extinguished quickly and a major damage to the building was prevented.
During the ongoing unrest in the Kashmir Valley, 25 schools, most of them run by the government in south Kashmir, have been destroyed in mysterious fires.
Authorities said they have identified miscreants who were torching schools in a planned conspiracy.
There has been no classwork in any school in the valley in the last 112 days of turmoil that has left at least 92 persons dead and thousands injured.
The continued closure of schools has been worrying parents, especially of children studying at the 10+2 level, whose final exams were to be conducted in October-November.
“Children have to sit for various professional courses based on their performance in the 10+2 exams. These professional entrance exams are held throughout the country as per a fixed calendar which won’t be deferred for my son,” a father, whose son is studying in a Srinagar school, told IANS.
The government is locked in a tug of war with separatist leaders who have been spearheading the unending series of protests and shutdown in the valley.
Separatist leaders ruled out any possibility of exempting schools from their weekly protest moves. They say allowing children to attend schools in the times of turmoil would be risking their lives. However, they have distanced themselves from the acts of arson targeting schools.
Senior separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has said those involved in torching schools are “enemies of the people of Kashmir”.
The state government has vowed to have exams of all classes conducted by end November even if schools don’t open by then. Demands from students to have these exams postponed to March next year have not found favour with the authorities.