On February 28, when the Union Home Ministry banned Jamat-e-Islami Jammu & Kashmir on grounds of being in “close touch with militants”, police and magistrates sealed several Jamat-e-Islami offices and also issued notices to schools run by the Falah-e-Aam Trust (FAT), asking them to close down.
Later, the government issued a clarification that these schools would not be closed down.
Falah-e-Aam (Welfare for All) is a trust set up by the Jamat-e-Islami, registered with the government under the number 169/5/72 dated July 31, 1972.
Article 4 of the constitution of FAT specifies it as a “non-political” body dedicated to “education and service to mankind”, while Article 3 lists opening of “educational institutions to educate students from all shades of society without any discrimination” as one of its objectives.
Before 1972, Jamat-e-Islami was already operating several schools, which it handed over to FAT. With new schools too coming up under the trust, FAT today controls around 350 middle and high schools, including 300 in the Valley. FAT officials claim close to 1 lakh students are enrolled and over 5,000 teachers engaged.
Officials now say that the notices were issued because some of the officers misinterpreted the government order on Jamat-e-Islami. In fact, in 1990, when the then Governor administration had banned Jamat-e-Islami, it had banned FAT too.
Thousands of FAT teachers were absorbed in government services. FAT went to court and the ban was overturned. After that, FAT handed over its schools to mohalla and village management committees, which now look after the management of most of these while FAT directly runs less than two dozen.
FAT schools follow the NCERT syllabus as prescribed by the state’s education department and the school board. They also have a separate class for Islamic Studies and Arabic, and introduced English at pre-primary level more than two decades before government schools did.