Huzaif Ahmad, who dreams of studying engineering, is only one of the 600 students in Kashmir whose future is now uncertain. These students belong to a secondary school in Jammu and Kashmir’s Budgam district which is allegedly related to a trust that is linked to a banned group in Kashmir.
Huzaif’s school facilitates boarding homes for 400 students, most of whom come from families that earn meager salaries. Out of these, few who can afford to pay are charged the minimum of Rs2500 for tuition and boarding, shares a management official.
Just like many other schools, the management protests that the school is now delinked from the Falah-e- Aam Trust, and has been re-registered, and taken over by local community management in 2017; but sources reveal that the school is still among the 20 others that may face closure.
Thousands of students in Jammu and Kashmir stare into a possibly bleak future that shall take place if the Union Territory administration’s decision to shut down 300 private schools in the next 15 days, occurs.
This decision was taken after SIA, State Investigative Agency, found these schools to be linked to Jama’at- backed trust.
The Jama’at-e-Islami, a politico-religious party, was proclaimed a banned organization in 2019 by the government.
And according to local media reports, the SIA found proof that these schools were a part of the Kashmir’s civilian unrest of 2010 and 2016, and were also teaching Jihadi literature
The Falah Aam Trust does not agree with this and claims that only seven out of the accused 20 schools, were directly affiliated with the banned organization and the rest, were never a part of any separatist activity. Except for those 7 schools, the trust is said to have no administrative or academic control over any other school. Showkat Ahmad Var, Director of Falah AamTrust
continues that he has no idea why they are banned as they strictly follow a government-approved syllabus and nothing else.
Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference leader Sajad Lone has opined says
that just because Jammu and Kashmir is mostly a Muslim majority state, they cannot possibly ban every institution because they have of their prejudice. He believes that the decision is biased and alleged that the government is deliberately targeting Kashmiris.
Meanwhile, Ranbir Singh Panthania, spokesman of Jammu and Kashmir has said “Falah Aam trust is affiliated with Jama’at e Islami. It used to run as many as 300 schools and 50,000 students are studying there. The government has banned these schools. We welcome the decision”