Shutting Falah-e-Aam schools in J&K, the future plan needs to be unveiled

Trust runs 300 schools across Valley and some parts of Jammu region. Government order has fixed deadline of next 15 days for the closure of all such schools

Arun Joshi

Jammu and Kashmir government has ordered the shutting down of all schools run by Jamaat-i-Islami affiliate Falah-e- Aam Trust in an apparent attempt to cripple the sources imparting education that sits outside the prism of the nationalist curriculum. It seems to have woken up to the need to check all the places where growth of fundamentalism takes place and later poses serious challenges to the state institutions and the system of governance. It is a step fraught with long-term implications on both sides of the fence – the nationalism-driven governance in which the anthem is zero tolerance to terrorism and its ecosystem. In a way it is a strike at the ecosystem. That is the government’s thinking, but the other side will see in it curbs on its way of imparting religious and scientific education deemed mandatory to compete in the technologically and scientifically advanced world. There would always be a debate over it.

This decision of the government came on Tuesday, a day after Lieutenant Governor  Manoj Sinha pledged wiping out of terrorism from the soil of Jammu and Kashmir by not only killing terrorism but also the ecosystem of terrorism. This  is in line with the government’s policy of eliminating terrorism from the soil and soul of Kashmir  For many in the  present system, these instates are the  birth places of radicalism guiding the hands of the terrorists who kill innocent people

The Trust runs 300 schools across the Valley and some parts of the Jammu region.  The government order has fixed a deadline of next 15 days for the closure of all such schools.

MS Education Academy

Approximately, 50,000 students in these schools can enroll in the nearby government schools. There, however, is no word about the aft the teachers and other staff of these schools. It appears that they will have to go back home and wait for the next order, which, in any case., it can be safely said, will not offer them any jobs. Instead, they will have to fend for themselves.

This action of the government can be read through several prisms – to shut all the outlets which it suspects or believes can pollute the young minds with teachings that tend to challenge the nation’s sovereignty.  Any such nursery, it believes, needs to be nipped in bud.  The fact, however, is that these schools have been in existence for decades, and these have the platforms where the parents’  poverty and ideology prompts them to the schools where they can get religious as well as science and technological knowledge.

The government’s view is different.  The media reports, based on the security agencies’ sources,  suggest that  “ Jihadi” literature was found in these schools and also doubtful channels finding these. There is some kind of nexus –  doubtful funding, institutions where children are indoctrinated with some sort of anti-national lectures resulting in building ecosystem of militancy.

On part of the government, this decision will help in eliminating one of the major sources contributing toward an atmosphere of uncertainty about the system. There is a wider angle, too, because the children passing out from these institutes also become part of the system as they get into the government jobs wherein they are invariably found working against the interests of the system of which they become part.  Now, the question that remains unanswered is, how the shutting of these schools at this stage will help in pulling out all the products of these institutes from the system where they are already well entrenched.

An order of 1990 has been cited for this order. But since then more than 30 years have passed. This time period is crucial, and at the same time the government will have to ensure how to check the influence these children will carry to the government schools. Perhaps all these points will have to be taken into account if the government wants to fulfill its wish.

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