South Kashmir’s ‘unofficial curfew’ hits students the most

Srinagar, Oct 23: Within less than a week of Kashmiri trucker Zahid Rasool Bhat succumbing to burn injuries sustained in an Udhampur fire-bombing, parts of the Kashmir Valley have turned into a police and paramilitary fortress, adversely affecting normal life — hitting hard the students the most.

With a virtual curfew crippling life in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, most students from different areas in the southern parts of the Valley missed bi-annual exams for undergraduate classes or their class 8 annual boards.

The preventive measures make it difficult for students to commute from places like Pahalgam (45 km away), Kokernag (25 km) and Verinag (30 km) to Anantnag where their examination centres are located.

The reason — security barricades at every 100 metres and stringent checks at all points.

Though authorities deny there is a curfew, the restrictions have forced residents to opt for an enforced stay at home rather than face the travails of repeated security checks.

“The local administration should have contacted university and other authorities for the postponement of exams, but they did not address the issue,” said Kokernag resident Rayees, a college student who also could not take his exam on Thursday because he was inordinately held up at security barriers enroute.

The students appealed to the Kashmir University authorities to reschedule their exams in view of the prevailing situation.

“We request the Kashmir University authorities for re-examination of students who missed their exams and postponing of the remaining exams till the situation becomes normal,” said college student Nasir Khan from Brakpoora area of Anantnag township.

The authorities, however, assured on Friday that they would ensure that those who could not appear in the exams due to security restrictions would be allowed to be re-examined at later dates.

“I had a word with the Kashmir University vice chancellor… he assured me that he will reschedule the dates and get conducted fresh exams for those who could not appear,” Anantnag DC Muneer-ul-Islam said.

Meanwhile, Shah Faisal, director of school education, Kashmir, told IANS on Friday that those students who missed the board exams should contact the cluster heads concerned.

“Anyone who missed the exams due to law and order disturbance need not worry… we will take supplementary exam for them,” Faisal said, adding: “All such students are requested to contact the cluster head concerned.

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