Srinagar: Amid continued unrest of over 100 days in Kashmir, when 10,000 odd youth, mainly students have been arrested, the state government has asked for personal details including bank account and Aadhar Card numbers of all school children.
As per an order issued by Directorate of School Education Kashmir, the school authorities across Kashmir have been asked to file “all personal details” of schoolchildren before the government.
While the some of the information of the students like name, parentage and address are already available with the schools, the government has sought other “minute details” including their bank account numbers, bank branch and IFSC codes, while details of Aadhar card have also been made mandatory.
The DSEK has passed orders to all the educational institutions including government and private run, through Chief Education Officer(s) to submit the details spanning over three dozen fields, before the offices of the concerned CEOs.
Given the prevalent unrest in Kashmir, when normal life is affected for the past over three months, most of the schools are unable to get personal details of the students, other than those they already have in school records.
Many such private institutions here have been coming up with newspaper notifications asking students and their parents to submit details as desired by the government. One of the schools has even sought bank account details of the concerned parents.
The government exercise, however, has drawn flak with many saying that the “profiling” aims and collecting personal details of children on behalf of police, so that “if needed the information can be used against them.”
“They have already arrested hundreds of schoolchildren... Now this seems to be an exercise to keep details of our children to execute nefarious designs. Otherwise why do you need bank accounts of wards and their parents?” asked a visibly upset parent adding “This is sheer wickedness”.
A delegation of parents told Kashmir Observer that they tried to contact Director School Education but that he was “not available for any public interaction over this serious issue.”
The school authorities, on the other hand are in a fix, as most of the parents are unwilling to share such “personal” details. “We are being unduly accused of helping the CID, which is just not true,” said a private school principal.
Sources said some of the school authorities have picked up the matter of reluctance from parents before Director Education Aijad Ahmed Bhat.
Insider said the Director is scheduled to call a meeting with the private schools operational in Srinagar this weekend to decide future course of action. The meeting, as per sources, is schedule to be held at a government college here.
Joint Director Education, Saif Ali Chauhan declined to comment on the issue. “You better contact Director or Commissioner,” he said and dropped the phone.
Despite repeated phone calls and messages, the director declined to respond to queries.
But a senior official said the orders have issued on the instructions of Education Minister, Syed Naeem Akhter Andrabi, who has asked DSEK to prepare a “detailed database of all students for future use.”
“This is for a centrally sponsored scheme whereby students will get scholarship in their bank accounts,” the official said, asking not to be identified.
To a question on public apprehensions, he said the details would not be shared with police or other security agencies. “As of now there are no such plans,” he assured.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.