After being shut for three months, schools in Kashmir are expected to reopen on Monday, even if Srinagar and other towns in the Valley remain under curfew. The state government on Sunday directed staff of schools to be present in their institutes, a day after the Centre asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to reopen schools as part of the central government’s eight-point peace package for the Valley.
Transport will be provided to teachers and students on 11 important routes in Srinagar. School uniforms will be treated as identity proof and school buses will be allowed passage in curfew, the state government said.
“We had a meeting with the police and security forces,” state Education Minister Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed said here on Sunday. “Everybody was told to recognise identity cards and school uniforms as curfew passes and facilitate movement of students and teachers.”
He said rural schools had been functioning when there was no curfew. “We want to make sure students from urban areas don’t suffer.”
Sayeed said private schools had also been asked to function and they had agreed to.
“We have been promised safe passage for buses and security for the school,” said Mohammad Iqbal, communications director of the city’s Tynadale Biscoe School, one of Kashmir’s best-known schools. “The school would be open and we will be plying our buses.”
Exams for Class 10 and Class 12 are to start in the last week of October and first week of November, respectively.
The hardline faction of the separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference, has, however, given a call for a shutdown on Monday and appealed to students and parents not to cooperate with the government’s directive.
“Though education is important, the government can’t use our children to suppress the agitation,’’ said Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
Some parents have also expressed scepticism at the reopening of schools.
“What if the school buses are attacked? If something untoward happens, who will take responsibility?’’ asked Mohammad Mustaq, a father of two school-going children. “I will wait and see what happens tomorrow (on Monday) and then decide. My children’s lives are more precious than anything else.”