Binoo Joshi

Jammu and Kashmir High Court has  taken the initiative to wake up   the whole of Kashmiri society ,  primarily the state government to the  disaster  of the  burning of schools in the Valley . The way High Court took suo motu notice of this growing tragedy of  burning  of one school after another speaks  loudly  for the collective failure of Kashmiri  society as  a whole.

The government had surrendered its authority to the separatists  who were giving call for protest calendar  since the killing of Burhan Wani , after he was declared as a “ martyr” by Pakistan , and refused to take any action against the arsonists and those stoning the army and police camps . The politics of protecting vote banks overweighed the  need to govern and  to nip trouble in the  bid.

Now when 27 schools have been burnt , the Kashmiri leadership has not learnt the right kind of lessons. There is a lot of rhetoric and blame game in the air rather  any concrete step to  open  schools for the students who do not want to be part of the self-destructive path of the stone throwing .

It is a dismal scenario . The whole of Kashmir  is responsible for it .  Neither let it be clear that the psyche that the repeat of few months of violent disturbances in Kashmir would yield them the “azadi” or force the Government of  India to its knees to succumb to the demand of secessionists, has not happened nor it would ever happen.  India is not a banana republic.

Two aspects flow out of this self-destructive strategy – the force in streets would be met with more force  by the state, secondly  each generation of stone throwers would harden its attitudes  and swing toward the fundamentalism – a complete recipe for the death of the tolerance  that characterizes  Kashmir and its people.

The High Court  judges , who are part of Kashmiri society could not have kept themselves aloof from the need for the education for the children. The burning of schools is intolerable , for the simple reason that these places  of learning  are not an asset  for one generation but for generations together. Keeping the  children off education is an unpardonable  crime .

It is pointless to  rely on the leaders who have no particular stand on education. Some like Syed Ali Shah  Geelani say that “ barbarism and  education cannot go together .”  Geelani  should also educate  as to who unleashed and promoted the anarchy in Kashmir which brought the barbarism is  Kashmir.  Isn’t the burning of schools an act of savagery  of middle-ages . Then there are others  like  Omar Abdullah, who says that  burning of schools is “ unacceptable.” He  also needs to answer a question, “ why had he kept silent  on the agitation . “ His silence  on the violence by the protesters  too encouraged these arsonists who believe that they can get away with anything .

Education   Minister Naeem Akhtar is in a constant stage of debating with Yasin  Malik as to  who is responsible for the burning of schools. This blame game will not guarantee the  safety of the schools, but  summoning of a collective will   can deliver  this objective. It is time to ponder.