PULWAMA With hostility and unrest becoming an inalienable part of our social life, attitudes are sharply changing in Kashmir. People have found astute ways of adapting to this new way of life. The 10th class annual examination results, declared on Saturday, have shown that proud dependence on schools is gone. That does not suggest that schools are no more needed for education but it definitely shows the way in difficult times.
South Kashmir, despite being the epicenter of all turmoil, has done extremely well outshining all other parts of the valley considered comparatively calm. Pulwama, the most volatile place, stands out with the highest pass percentage of 84.50 followed by equally turbulent districts of Shopian (83%), Kulgam (80.5%) and Anantnag with 78%.
Pulwama has remained shut under civilian protests and strike calls for 119 days in 2018 causing closure of all educational institutions as well. There had been 20 armed clashes between militants and government forces in the district over the period in which 35 militants were killed which prompted the street protests and strikes. Eighteen (18) civilians were also killed and around 200 others wounded during the period.
As many as 59 fresh recruits took to arms in the district.
To cap it all, the schools also remained shut for the first two months (59 days) of the year (January/February) for winter vacations. Add to it, 15 days of summer vacation, Sundays and government holidays, it could figure around 35 days more for which educational institutions have remained closed in the district.
The neighboring districts of Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag which follow Pulwama in the performance too have remained equally disturbed and shut in 2018.
The schools just did not remain shut during the period but even witnessed raids and clashes as well. In July at Hawoora in Kulgam three persons were shot dead by army during a raid on the school in the village. Army fired on the crowd when they resisted attempts of arresting a boy from the school.
In many other cases school boys got killed in indiscriminate firing by armed forces. The savage killing of Numan Ashraf, a 10th class student of Balso village, at Kaprin on November 25 is a case in point. He was shot dead at a distance from the encounter site. Ashraf had appeared in the 10th class examination and was waiting for results. When the results were finally out on Saturday he was declared successful.
Four of the seven persons killed in the blast at encounter site in Kulgam on October 21 were also students. They were Mohammad Muqeem, a 12th class student, Uzair Ahmad in Class VI, who was barely 12 years old, Talib Maqbool Laway (19), a student at Kulgam Government College, and Irshad Ahmad (21), who had dropped out of the college some time back.
Six of the seven civilians killed by army at Sirno village outside Pulwama district headquarters onDecember 15 too were students. They were Abid Hussain Lone (MBA), Murtaza Bashir Class 7 student, Liyaqat Majeed Dar , a class 11 student, Owais Yousuf Najar (class 12th student) Mohammad Amir Pala (10th class dropout) and Suhail Rashid, a 10th class student.
These facts speak that Kashmiris have learnt the art of living not only with the death but excel too when death is around.
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