Presence of security personnel keeps students, teachers away from classrooms
The J&K government on Thursday re-opened all higher secondary schools across the Valley, after 60 days of closure, only to a very negligible attendance by students, while teachers complained of several structures being occupied by the security forces.
Srinagar’s prominent government-run Sri Pratap Higher Secondary School at Lal Chowk wore a deserted look, with no student presence on its sprawling campus. Just two students without uniform appeared from the nearby Barbar Shah area to know the status of the school.
“I was shocked to see a security bullet-proof picket come up at the gate. I was stopped by the security personnel and questioned. I immediately left the premises,” the students said, on the condition of anonymity.
Top officials of the school told The Hindu that no attendance of students was recorded. “We have around 1,500 students in the school. A very negligible number turned up. We decided not to hold any classes. However, teachers met to chalk out the future course of action,” school authorities said.
The teachers said around 500 security personnel had been stationed at the main building of the school after the August 5 decision to revoke J&K’s special status. “Security personnel need to be vacated so that students feel safe in the school,” said a teacher.
There was a similar scene at the all-girls Government Kothi Bagh Higher Secondary school, another prominent educational institution. “We are hopeful that attendance will improve in coming days,” said an official.