J K News Today special
Recently there was a picture in Kashmir media showing picture of school children studying in a graveyard in Sopore in north Kashmir. It was a shocking revelation about the state of education in the Valley where graveyards have become classrooms .
The circumstances that have brought about such a situation have not been reflected upon and there is no diagnosis of the problem either . In normal times ,children are kept away from the graveyards for the simple reason that the children,childhood are all about life and the ways to progress in life . The death and graves are the ultimate reality but that is not for the children whose birth and each step is an occasion for celebrations.
Had it been anywhere else, it would have generated outrage in society, but in Kashmir there hardly were any voices of protest because the armed militants and separatists have given a legitimacy to the theory of children ‘s classrooms in graveyards. This runs with their concept that the children of others are for learning all about graves and the men inside , while their own children are for studying in expensive schools within the country and abroad.
These are two extremes with which the people of Kashmir live- extreme penury and helplessness enforced upon them by the armed militants and their patrons flourishing on the illicit money got from various quarters including from across the border , and the separatists who have a lavish lifestyle for themselves and their children. This is a class division which suits the militants and separatists.
Now some bare facts. More than 740 schools were burnt down in the initial stages of militancy in 1990s. The vicious idea was to keep children away from schools so that they turn grenade hurlers or pick up guns. Their actual schooling was replaced by the training with mock guns and grenades and mock encounters in orchards and abandoned places. The infamous game used to be young children posing as militants , questioning supposed informers among themselves , punishing them , often by mock hangings. This was a fake action but it was drawn from real time actions by militants who would hang the supposed informers to spread fear and terror.
In 2010 and 2016 , the stone throwing protestors started burning down public property , including schools. It became difficult fir the children to go to schools and with their schools having been reduced to ashes, they had to stay at home. If one more generation is consumed, the blame should rest with militants and separatists who destroyed education system in the Valley where graveyards have become real time classrooms .