Enough Protests, Resume Classes: Bukhari Talks Tough

Srinagar—Education Minister Syed Altaf Bukhari on Saturday advised students protesting over the Kathua rape-murder case to control their emotions and resume their classes.

“After the Kathua incident, we gave the students a chance to vent their emotions. Students should control their emotions and now go back to their classes,” the Minister told the media here.

The Minister said Kashmir cannot afford a generation of illiterates and urged everybody to help ensure that students resume academic activities.

He warned that if the present situation continued the state government would be forced to close down educational institutions. “The security of students is our paramount concern. That is why we close schools and colleges.”

He said the students were given chance to give vent to their emotions after Kathua incident. “Now enough is enough, they have registered their protest and should attend schools now,” he said while appealing all the political leaders to spare education from politics.

“We can’t afford to have future a generation of illiterates and uneducated [people]. So I request all, particularly students to make schools functional.”

Kashmir has been in the throes of spiraling student protests in the past month or so to seek justice for the Kathua rape-murder victim whose body was found in Rasana village on January 10.

Commenting on the government’s decision to shut certain schools and colleges in the wake of the protests by students against the horrendous rape and murder of a Kathua girl, Bukhari said the Government is forced to close the educational institutions to ensure safety of the students in view of the frequent protests. “Now the case is in court and we should look up to the judiciary to provide justice and ensure that the guilty are punished,” he said.

The Minister said unfortunately education has become the biggest casualty of the prevailing situation in Kashmir and “it is our collective responsibility to think over the terrible consequences of the loss of education of our children.” He said he is pained to see students taking to streets instead of focusing on their education. “Ironically, we have come to a time where we are systematically disempowering ourselves, educationally, intellectually, economically and physically,” said Bukhari adding that every right-thinking person in Kashmir including those with differing political ideologies shall have to seriously think over the grave issue, before it is too late to recoup the great loss.

The Minister said while the Kashmir’s affluent class has already started shifting their children outside the State for education, it is the middle class and the poor whose children are losing out on education because of the recurrent disruptions. He also requested the parents to convince their wards against protests and not to waste their precious time.

The Minister asked the heads of the educational institution to treat their students as their own children and counsel them for their better future.

Seeking feedback from the heads of educational institutes, the Minister emphasized that it is a moral as well as an ethical duty of educational heads to ensure that they treat students in their respective institutions as their own children.

Emphasizing the need for student counselling, the Minister said as academicians it is important to ensure the safety and better future of students. He said proper counselling could surely help the students towards a better future.

He sought cooperation from teaching community to work overtime to cover the deficit of the valuable time lost due to the prevailing circumstances. He said the teachers need to incorporate new ideas to produce a society that is vibrant, creative and rich in intellect.

Students Clash With Forces

Clashes broke out between students and the forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Badgam district on Saturday despite the authorities shutting down most colleges and schools in the valley.

Students demanding justice for the Kathua rape and murder victim clashed with the security personnel in Chadoora and Panzan areas.

As police intervened to quell the protests a teenaged girl was hit during the stone pelting by the protesters.

“She was treated in the hospital for a lacerated wound. Her condition is stable and out of danger,” the attending doctor said.

authorities have ordered closure of colleges and higher secondary schools in most parts of the Kashmir Valley on Saturday to avoid a face off between protesting students and the security forces.

Kashmir has been witnessing spiralling protests ever since the rape and murder of the eight-year-old in Hiranagar area in Jammu in January.

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