The Jammu and Kashmir High Court Monday took suo motu cognizance of arson at schools in the Valley and asked civic and police officials to take steps to protect the institutions.
A division bench comprising Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and Justice Ali Mohammad Magray observed that collective efforts are needed to safeguard school buildings and setting them on fire is, in effect, destroying the knowledge centres of future generations.
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The court directed Chief Secretary B R Sharma, Director General of Police K Rajendra Kumar and Director, School Education, Kashmir, Aijaz Ahmad Bhat to direct Deputy Commissioners, Senior Superintendents of Police and Chief Education Officers of the districts concerned to take steps to protect school buildings.
The court also directed officials to devise “modes and methods in collaboration with higher authorities and lower officials” for effective protection of the schools.
The Government Higher Secondary School, Kabamarg, in south Kashmir’s Anantnag was the latest school to be set on fire on Sunday afternoon.
Meanwhile, according to local media reports, the United Jihad Council, a conglomerate of militant groups, Monday blamed “Indian agencies” for the incidents and said they were trying to defame the “ongoing movement” in the Valley. Kashmir Inc and civil society groups in a joint statement said schools are “national assets” and arsonists cannot be “our comrades”.