Landowner locks up school; students forced to take classes in open

Pulwama, November 23: The Government High School at Wassymarg in Shadimarg zone of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district has been operating in open these harsh winters because the landowner of the school has locked it. The teachers and the students are forced to take classes in the open ground since last week.

The landowner has locked up the high school since the authorities at Srinagar Education Department have failed to fulfill the promise of giving a job to his son Ashiq Hussain. The Abdul Salam Wagay (landowner) while accusing the education department said, “The school has been built on my property and I had allowed the construction at that time only after the authorities promised a job to my son.”

“I will not allow the school to function until the authorities provide a job to my son as promised,” Abdul added.

. But now those three rooms have also been snatched which is adding to the woes of all the teachers and students. According to a teacher and in charge of the school, Mohammad Ashraf, “it has become very difficult for us to manage with the studies and other activities of the school in open during this cold weather.”

The local  residents of the area have held the authorities at Srinagar Education Department responsible for this problem and said that they have been negligent and this has caused trouble for innocent students and teachers of the school. “The school is in a mountainous area and the cold wave intensifies every passing day,” said Mohammad Jabbar, a resident of the village. He added that they had been using tradition ‘kangris’ (fire pots) for the last one month and the weather conditions could be adverse for children.

On the other hand, the authorities have denied any such  promise of providing job to landowner’s son and told local media that he has provided land out of his free will. “No person providing land for Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan buildings had been promised jobs as per rules and if some person concerned had got such an order, I will look into it,”  said Zonal Education Officer, Shadimarg, Peerzada Sharif Mohammad Rafiqui.

Similarly, Chief Education Officer, Pulwama, Abdul Hamid Kumar said, ” Abdul Salam Wagay has signed an affidavit before the judicial authorities, agreeing to provide land according to his free will. If, now, he will be proved of putting hurdles in the functioning of the school, my office will lodge an FIR against him.”

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