HC Orders Govt to Pay for Reconstruction of Burnt Schools

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Srinagar—The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Thursday directed government to make available funds for reconstruction and repairing of schools burnt down or damaged during last year’s unrest in the Kashmir Valley.

Hearing a suo-moto Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmad and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey also directed police to expedite investigation to bring those behind the burning down of schools to book.

As the hearing of the PIL started, the state counsel informed the court that Detailed Project Reports (DPRS) for reconstruction of the burnt schools are pending with state’s Planning Department and thereafter would be forwarded to Finance Department “so that the sanctioning of requisite funds would be processed. “

Following the submissions, the court directed the Planning and Monitoring department to complete the process of DPRs within two weeks and “there after the entire process should be completed within a period of four weeks.”

The Court has also perused the photographs submitted by the state counsel, showing accommodation provided to children whose schools were burnt down.

After going through the photographs, the court observed lack of facility in the accommodated schools. “No seating arrangement is available and children put their note books on their bags to write down their work,” the court observed and directed the authorities to file the status report, indicating facilities provided to them.

On previous hearing, the court had observed that education is an essential component of human life like water and air. It has directed state government to take immediate steps for reconstruction of the schools which were either burnt down or damaged during the last year’s uprising in Kashmir Valley.

In order to ensure protection of the schools against being vandalized, damaged or burnt down, the court issued various directions from time to time.

“Education is not relevant only for present times but it has been relevant for the human beings from the advent of human history. The illiteracy breeds ignorance and illiterate people are susceptible to all kinds of exploitations. Like water and air, education is an essential component of human life. For moral, spiritual and material development of a human being, education is of utmost importance,” the court had observed and direct the government to take immediate steps for reconstruction of the burnt down or damaged schools.

Nearly three dozen schools were burnt or damaged as per the information revealed by the government to the high court.

Regarding progress of investigation of FIRs regarding damaging of the educational institutions, the court directed the police to expedite the investigation so that the perpetrators are brought to the book.

47 persons including 5 juveniles were arrested by police for their alleged involvement and among them, 10 have been booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA), Kashmir’s Inspector General of Police had informed the court in a status report filed previously.

The police officer had informed the court on previous hearing that special investigating teams (SITs) have been stressed upon to ensure that the investigation of the cases be conducted as per the highest standards of investigation by collecting sufficient evidences against the those involved to award “exemplary punishment” to them.

 

 

 

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