Miscreants Lock School Caretakers, Burn 35th School In Valley

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Srinagar: Miscreants on Saturday night locked the caretakers of Government High School, Larnoo, in a room and set the school on fire. With this incident, the count of schools burnt during the unrest has gone up to 35.Police official Tawseef Ahmad from Larnoo village, 50 km away from Anantnag town, said the incident occurred at 11:30 pm on Saturday. He said they were trying to trace the people responsible for the act.

“We got a call at 11:30 pm and we rushed to the spot. The school was holding the classes these days, but now four rooms have been completely damaged. It was closed today,” the official said. The miscreants locked the two caretakers, who were guarding the school at night, and set the school ablaze.

The official said the locals rushed to the spot and saved the caretakers.“The locals heard the cries of the caretakers rushed to the spot. They broke the windows to rescue them. Then they informed the firemen,” said a senior officer from the Department of Education.

About 90 Gujjar students study in the school at Larnoo, which is a hilly village in Kokernag in Anantnag district. The officer said the students now did not have any classrooms left as four rooms, including the furniture, had been burnt. The two caretakers were being interrogated by the police who were trying to find out the cause of the fire.

Confirming the incident, Director School Education Aijaz Ahmad Bhat said the school building had been partially damaged. The burning of the school comes at a time when the Valley continues to linger under restrictions and separatist-sponsored shutdowns for nearly five months.

The J&K Police have already arrested 33 persons and booked six under the Public Safety Act for being involved in arson at 34 schools located at various places.

The unabated burning of schools in Kashmir in October had spiralled into a major issue in the Valley’s political discourse and the state high court had stepped in to direct the government to take all necessary steps to protect them.

In November, international rights body Human Rights Watch (HRW) had said attacks on education sector in Kashmir, including the mysterious burning of schools, should be stopped immediately.

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