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Kashmir unrest: Private schools remain open on weekends after shutdown

Srinagar: With educational activities in Kashmir picking up after remaining suspended for over four months due to the unrest, private schools in the valley are following separatist-issued ‘protest calendar’ by remaining open only during the relaxation period over the weekend.

Students are happy to resume their class-work, which was affected by the continuous shutdown following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on 8 July. The schools went on a two-week summer holiday on 1 July but could not resume functioning due to the unrest.

The separatists, spearheading the agitation since Wani’s killing, have been issuing weekly protest programmes against the civilian killings in the unrest and in support of their demand for right to self-determination. They have also announced periodic 15-hour relaxation in the strike on few days of the week, with two full days of relaxation on Saturdays and Sundays.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Since the 16 November announcement of weekend relaxation by the separatists, private schools in the valley decided to resume class-work on these two days, as education in Kashmir was hit hard by the unrest, with schools and colleges, including government-run institutions, remaining closed for over four months with no or minimal activity.

“It feels good to be back at school. I was getting tired sitting idle at home without any class-work or studies. It has affected us but we should remain focused now,” Zia-ul-Islam, a student at a private school, said.

Kashmir remains abuzz with activity on the weekends as shops, business establishments and fuel stations open in the early hours while public transport plies on all roads from the morning on these two days. Most of the private educational institutions have also been functioning over the weekend since the announcement of relaxation in the strike, though government-run schools have not followed the separatists’ announcements.

Private Schools Association of Kashmir (PSAK) has asked the schools to ensure 100 percent attendance of students and teachers during the relaxation period.

“Students are going through a hard phase. We have decided to help them in every possible way. Our entire staff will work overtime during the relaxation period to help the students,” PSAK chairman GN Var said. He said the association would ensure that schools remain open on Saturdays as well as Sundays.

There is no hesitation among the parents as well to send their children to schools on the weekend. “As the schools remain open only on weekends, I do not see any reason not to send my children to their schools.
Saturday and Sunday are full relaxation days. Public transport remains available, private cars can ply without any fear of stone-pelting, so students can reach their school without any hassles,” Javaid Ahmad, a resident of old city, said.

“There are still some problems in sending children to schools on weekdays. There is no transport, less activity in markets, chances of tension on the roads, so as a parent, I hesitate in sending my children to school on non-relaxation days,” he added.

However, government-run schools do not follow the separatist announcements. While teachers remain present in their respective schools on the weekdays, students do not attend the institutions.

The government-run schools are closed on Sundays.

The educational activity in the valley is limping back to normal after the government started conducting the annual board examinations.

The examinations for Std 12 began on 14 November, while those of Std 10 started a day later. Till then, since 1 July, there was no education-related activity in the valley schools.

As many as 86 people, including two cops, have been killed and several thousand others injured in the clashes between protesters and security forces in the valley in the unrest triggered by Wani’s killing. Around 5,000 security forces personnel have also been injured in those clashes.

First Published On : Dec 4, 2016 15:58 IST

Demonetisation: Queues get shorter at banks but no respite at ATMs

New Delhi:┬áIn the wake of certain restrictions on money exchange norms by the government, chaos and rush at banks eased but the situation did not quite improve at ATMs as people were still seen waiting in long queues to withdraw valid currency notes. As banks opened after a day’s break today, people rushed to exchange old defunct bills or withdraw cash.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

On the 12th day of demonetisation, people still have to stand in queues for hours at ATMs as most of the cash vending machines are either dysfunctional or running out of cash due to huge rush. There have been reports coming from different parts of the country about people being frustrated with shortage of cash at branches, leading to scuffle with bank staff and rioting at some branches.

Besides, those having wedding in their families are still not able to withdraw Rs 2.5 lakh from their accounts, even after the relaxation announced by the Centre five days ago. Banks said they have not yet received operational guidelines from the RBI in this regard. People are visiting their branches with gazette notification that talks of relaxation being provided to farmers and for marriage, but to no avail.

“Withdrawal for marriage purpose can be availed only after RBI’s notification, which will have clear direction about the various formalities needed to be furnished by the customers for withdrawal,” said a senior public sector bank official. To screen repeat customers, banks at many places have started using ink mark on fingers of people who are exchanging old notes. Besides, the government last week also reduced the exchange limit of old defunct notes to Rs 2,000 from the earlier Rs 4,500.

First Published On : Nov 21, 2016 11:39 IST

Kashmir: Curfew lifted, but separatist-sponsored strike continues for 106th day

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Curfew was lifted from six police station areas of the city on Saturday but normal life remained affected in Kashmir for the 106th straight day due to the separatist-sponsored strike. Curfew was imposed yesterday in six police station areas of the city. A police official said the situation in the summer capital here and elsewhere in the Valley was under control, even as a youth died during clashes between protestors and security forces in Budgam district of central Kashmir yesterday. The official, however, said restrictions on assembly of four or more people were in place throughout the valley for maintaining law and order. Security forces have been deployed in strength at vulnerable spots and along the main roads to as a precautionary measure, the official said. Meanwhile, normal life remained affected in Kashmir due to the strike. Shops and business establishments remained shut in the Valley, but are expected to open today as separatists have given a 14-hour relaxation in the shutdown from 5.00 pm . The ongoing unrest in Kashmir has affected the education as schools, colleges and other educational institutions continue to remain shut in the Valley. The government has decided to hold board examinations as per the schedule next month, drawing criticism from students and parents who accused it of being insensitive to lack of academic activity due to shutdown.As many as 85 people, including two cops, have been killed and several thousand others injured in the ongoing unrest in the valley.

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