Govt brings in more forces, extends summer vacation


Srinagar: Even as Kashmir remained under curfew for the ninth consecutive day, the state government on Sunday extended summer vacation for education institutions by another one week, while more companies of paramilitary were called in, raising apprehensions that there could be more dark days ahead.

While the schools, which were on vacations since July 1 were scheduled to reopen on July 18, the colleges were earlier set to open last week. However, in the wake of violence, the government had extended the vacations for the higher education department till July 18.

But a day ahead of the opening of all the education institutions tomorrow, the government extended the break again.

Sources said the decision to extend the summer vacations was taken after taking Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti and some other top brass into confidence.

“There were inputs that the situation was not feasible for opening of educational institutions anywhere in the Valley even as resumption of class work could only worsen the situation,” the sources said.

They said initially the proposal from the Education Ministry was to get the vacations extended by three days but that other concerned agencies said it should be stretched for “straight one week at least.”

“The government was well aware that extending summer vacations by one more week would send a wrong signal in the Valley, which has been on the edge… But there were no other options,” said a senior official, asking not to be named.

On the other hand, the central government sent in at least 20 more companies of Central Reserve Police Force, as a riot control measure to Kashmir, on the edge since July 8 when Hizb commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani was killed. Since then over 44 persons have died in protests while 3000 odd are wounded.

Two new companies of the CRPF have already been brought into the Valley, for mob control in the summer capital of Srinagar.

Meanwhile, restrictions on civilian movement worsened today. Residents of Karan Nagar said for the past few days they would manage access to the nearby SMHS Hospital, where over 200 wounded lie hospitalized, but that now the movement has become more risky. “Today cops beat scores of people who were heading towards the hospital with relief. This means the strictness has been intensified, while public miseries continue to mount due to curfew,” Karan Nagar inhabitants told Kashmir Observer.

Amid “worst ever humanitarian crises”, the suspension of phone and internet connectivity has only worsened the problem with besieged people unable to keep track of one another’s wellbeing.

The communication shutdown has emerged as a main cause of rumor mongering but the government is unwilling to withdraw the ban. Till now on the other hand the government has failed to issue curfew passes to the needy.

The Doctors Association Kashmir has already expressed dismay over “inhuman siege” cautioning that it was equally detrimental for the patient care.

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