‘Out-of-work’, Kashmir IAS Topper Needs a Job

 Srinagar: A Facebook post by Director of School Education in Kashmir on Saturday invited sharp comments from citizens on social media after he sarcastically posted that he was out of job as the schools in the Valley continued to remain shut due to the current three-month-old agitation.

“I am Director of shut schools. I need a job,” Shah Faesal posted on Facebook, referring to the schools continuing to remain closed in Kashmir due to the separatist-sponsored strike to protest the killing of civilians in the violence that broke out in the wake of killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on 8 July.

The post, which instantly went viral, triggered a debate over government claims of improvement in situation and that only “handful of people” support the agitation.

His post equally contradicted the claims of government that schools are operational. On Friday, some 15 hours ahead of Faesal’s post, his young IAS colleague and Director Information, Dr Shahid Chowdhary took to Twitter to boast the functioning of schools in the restive Valley, something which he has been highlighting for the past over a fortnight.

“Friday:1,72,240 students attended classes in 8 districts of Kashmir. None in Srinagar and Bandipore. Highest 41815 Kupwara, Lowest 825 Shopian,” Dr Shahid had posted on the micro-blogging website.

The contradictory claims of the twin officials, put the government to severe embarrassment with many a netizen asking who of the two should be trusted “as both happen to be young IAS officials”.

For the last around a month the government has been claiming that schools have been largely functional and that situation is improving.

Earlier in August when the uprising was peaking, separatist-turned-minister Sajjad Gani Lone claimed that only 5% of people in Kashmir are supporting the agitation. Subsequently Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti toes line with Lone’s viewpoint and it became a government stand over unrest, which has claimed at least 91 lives, while more than 12,000 people were wounded and around 1,000 people blinded in government action against civilian protesters.

The government claims that situation has improved while Tourism department has formally resumed promoting Kashmir as “safest tourist destination” by launching a promotion drive in the national capital.

Call it fate or coincidence, Dr Faesal appeared on the social media after many weeks exactly on the day when a school boy was killed by government forces in action against protesters.

12-year-old Junaid Akhoon was critically wounded last evening when police and paramilitary CRPF fired pellets on protesters in Saida Pora area of Srinagar. He was rushed to SKIMS Soura where he breathed his last this morning.

Tear smoke shells were fired on his funeral when the body was being taken towards Martyrs Graveyard at Eidgah. Eyewitnesses said Junaid’s body once fell on ground due to intensity of the tear smoke shelling on mourners.

Despite repeated attempts Dr Shah Faesal could not be contacted for comments.

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