Govt Wooing Pvt Schools To Break Separatists’ Protest Roster

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Srinagar: In yet another bid to break the protest calendar issued by the unified separatist leadership, the government has started ‘backchannel talks’ with some private schools asking them to resume business promising them of ‘requisite security.’

Sources said for the past few days, a cabinet minister and some officials from the Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) have been holding “secret negotiations with some of the representatives of the private school bodies as also with the owners of such institutions.”

Sources privy to the negotiations said the government has told the private schools that all their “long pending demands with regard to registration and related issues would be resolved in a time-bound manner” and that they could get “special incentives” if they helped the government in the speedy restoration of normalcy in the Valley.

Sources said the representatives of the private schools were told that government would offer adequate protection at the educational institutions and also to the movement of the school buses.

Sources said before starting ground work the concerned minister discussed the plan threadbare with a former police official who in 2010 had facilitated a similar move.  The duo is understood to be enjoying a good chemistry.

Some of the district commissioners are also privy to the plans and have been asked to utilize their “good offices” to hold meetings with the stakeholders for a breakthrough.

Kashmir Observer learnt from reliable sources that Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, during a recent meeting to review situation in Kashmir, stressed on speedy reopening of schools as this development could make others “follow the first step towards normalcy.”

Sources said another crucial meeting would be held this weekend to look at the results of the “track-II” talks with the private schools, particularly some leading ones based in the summer capital of Srinagar.

Restoration of law and order has emerged as a major challenger for the government, which continues to keep seven million odd people besieged in the Valley, having witnessed “worst ever humanitarian crises”.

The united Hurriyat on the other hand has been reluctant to give any relaxation other than that intermittently given during the evening hours.

To break the protest calendar has emerged as a major challenge for Mehbooba led government struggling to restore normalcy. Till now, however, the government has failed in the endeavour.

From directing the employees to ensure attendance at their offices, to the counter-restrictions imposed during the relaxation call given by the Hurriyat conference, it is generally believed, that no such move has been able to give desired results.

At least 70 people have died, over 7000 have been wounded and hundreds lost their eyesight in the government action by forces against the protesters.

On August 23, Education Minister Naeem Akhter asked the Jammu and Kashmir State Board of School Education to hold exams on time.

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