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School classes under open sky as Pakistan shells LoC villages

SP Sharma | Jammu |

With the final examinations just a month away, students are among the worst sufferers of the ongoing shelling by Pakistan troops in the civilian areas along the International border (IB) and Line of control (LOC) in the Jammu division.

Students of more than 450 schools in the Kathua, Samba, Jammu, Rajouri and Poonch districts bordering Pakistan and POK had to migrate to safer places with their parents as even the education institutions were not being spared in shelling.

More than 200 students were taking their classes in the open in Nowshera in the Rajouri district that was worst hit last week when Pakistan troops targeted the area with missiles. Principal of the government school, Narendera Kumar Sharma, said that many students had returned to schools in their native villages but have come back after the fresh bout of firing.

He said that nearly 250 migrant families have occupied the class rooms for the past about 10 months as a result of which the students had no option but to take their classes under the open sky.
Deputy Commissioner of Rajouri, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, had on Saturday shut 84 schools within the radius of 5 kms of the LOC as a precautionary measure.

Teaching came to a halt in nearly 300 schools of Jammu and Samba recently when Pakistan targeted these areas. In many cases, the Army and police had to rescue students and teachers in mobile bunkers and bullet-proof vehicles when Pakistan targeted primary schools and other education institutions. Not only Pakistan troops but also the Pakistan backed separatists in the Kashmir valley were also to be blamed for the harm that was being caused to the students because of frequent shutdown calls.

Schooling could be conducted only for a period of 4 months in the Kashmir valley during 2016 as the separatists issued regular shutdown calendars after the killing of a terrorist Burhan Wani in
an encounter with security forces. Several schools were burnt down by miscreants in a bid to bring the students on the streets.

As a result of unrest, the state government gave mass promotions in Kashmir to students from 1st to 9th class and the syllabus of 10th and 12th classes was curtailed. However, the government was least bothered about students of the Jammu division where schooling has been disturbed due to frequent shelling by Pakistan, parents and students allege.