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An editorial in the New York Times said, “such posturing will only doom Kashmir to a deadly spiral”, adding that Indian democracy will lose its credibility if Kashmiris are robbed of a chance to dream.

In an unusually harsh editorial, The New York Times has described India’s security crackdown in Kashmir as “brutal” and cautioned that it will feed more militancy.

The editorial which was published on Saturday said the Indian government must ensure that human rights are protected in Kashmir.

The New York Times’ editorial board’s comments came days after a video showing a civilian tied to a military vehicle as a ‘human shield’ in Kashmir went viral.

Shawl weaver Farooq Ahmad Dar tied to an army jeep as a human shield against stone pelters.

The editorial commented that members of India’s armed forces “reached a new low in the long history of alleged human rights abuses” in Kashmir when they beat and tied 24-year-old shawl weaver Farooq Ahmad Dar to the front of a jeep using him as a human shield against stone-throwing crowds.

“The incident, which came to light when a video spread on social media, provides a gauge of an insurgency that has waxed and waned over nearly three decades in Kashmir,” the editorial titled ‘Cruelty and Cowardice in Kashmir’ said.

It added that following the incident, India’s army chief General Bipin Rawat vowed action against those responsible for tying Dar to the jeep. But he also warned that Kashmir’s stone-throwing youth and separatist militants “may survive today, but we will get them tomorrow. Our relentless operations will continue”.

The editorial said, “such posturing will only doom Kashmir to a deadly spiral, where more brutal military tactics will feed more despair and more militancy”.

The editorial said the Narendra Modi government would do well if it follows the recommendations by a report presented to him by a group of citizens in January that cited strong feelings of discrimination and a “complete lack of faith” by Kashmiris in government promises.

The report had pleaded for improved human rights and a multi-party dialogue aimed at a durable political solution.

The editorial also warned that Indian democracy will lose its credibility if Kashmiris are robbed of a chance to dream, along with the rest of India, of a peaceful, prosperous future if the recommendations of the report are not implemented.

The group that visited the Valley twice last year on a fact-finding mission has recommended “multi-dimensional dialogue” that includes talks with Hurriyat should be “initiated at the earliest” and has asked the government to improve human rights situation and resuscitate democratic linkages between with people and allow Kashmiris to assemble and meet to hold discussions.

As the Darbar Move offices will resume functioning after a gap of six months in the summer capital on May 8, three major challenges are staring government in the face: Ensuring good governance, smooth Amarnath pilgrimage and the by-poll for South Kashmir seat slated for May 25.
Interestingly, two out of the three issues will be discussed in the Unified High Command meet scheduled to be held anytime after May 10.
The meeting, to be chaired by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in Srinagar, will work out a strategy for the smooth conduct of the Amarnath Yatra from June 29 till August 7. “Besides, Yatra, the meeting will also deliberate on the arrangements for the by-polls for South Kashmir Parliamentary constituency,” sources in the State Home Department revealed.
“The Chief Minister is likely to seek details from the heads of various security agencies about the preparations made to ensure incident free annual pilgrimage of Amarnath,” sources said.
They said, “The Unified High Command meet will frame a strategy to deal with the challenges staring the government in its face.”
A senior police officer while admitting that in view of the ground situation, there are a lot of “sensitivities” involved and “measures would be accordingly taken.”
“The situation on the ground is fragile and police will deal with any challenge with utmost care. If election in South Kashmir is held on time, ensuring smooth polls will be a major challenge,” he said.
“I don’t need to explain the reasons but two factors are there: militancy and the alienation among the people (of South Kashmir).”
He said the police will also wait for the directions to be passed by the Chief Minister after the Unified High Command meet to be held in Srinagar.
Curiously, at least 1500 polling stations were declared “hyper-sensitive” in South Kashmir Lok Sabha segment, which remained the epicenter of the last year’s uprising triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahedeen commander Burhan Wani.

Additional Forces Coming For Yatra

Sources in the police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) disclosed to Kashmir Post that at least 15 companies, who were part of additional forces for polls, have been retained in South Kashmir.
“For the annual Yatra, more forces will come in the mid-June. The request has already been made by the State to the Government of India in this regard,” a top CRPF officer said, wishing not to be named.
He said for the Yatra, “not the people but the militants are the major threat.”
CRPF spokesman in Srinagar Rajesh Yadav said that the forces will maintain a high vigil on the highways and at the base-camps of Yatra as well. “Militant threat is always there, but this time situation is a bit different,” he said.
“It depends on the Centre, how much additional companies they would sanction for the smooth conduct of Yatra,” he added.
The State had sought 250 additional companies of forces, CRPF, ITPB, Sahastra Seva Bal for the elections to the Srinagar-Budgam and South Kashmir constituencies. While majority of companies have left Kashmir, 12 to 15 of them have been retained to “meet any possible challenge.”

‘It’s Time For Development In Kashmir’
According to the government, soon after the reopening of Darbar Move offices in Srinagar, primary task for it will be to ensure peace and development.
“Due to last year’s situation, Kashmir suffered on all fronts and it’s time for development,” said senior PDP leader and Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj Abdul Haq Khan.
Admitting that the situation on the ground is “difficult” to handle”, the minister asserted: “But we will go to the people and tell them it’s time for development in Kashmir.”
He said militancy and protests are “gifts” of National Conference. “PDP was not born when these two problems engulfed Kashmir. We will do our best and reach out to people and sure governance in real sense,” he said.
Sources in the PDP said that major focus will be laid on the road connectivity and tourism during the six-month period from May onwards.
“For PDP, it’s a challenge to ensure that promises made in the Agenda of Alliance (AoA), which has always been criticised by the opposition National Conference and other independent legislators, are implemented on the ground,” sources said.

What has led to the extreme and inhumane reactions against Kashmiris across India?

Remember how strongly we condemned the hate crimes against Indian immigrants in the United States in recent times? Our blood boiled at the sight of the images of body of Hyderabad techie Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was killed by a xenophobic American in Kansas. We all reacted instantly and channelised our anger in demanding immediate action against the culprit by the Donald Trump administration. We were right in our demands. After all how could we tolerate our Indians being attacked, abused and killed? However, similar reactions don’t come forth when a fellow Indian is bullied, tortured, maimed to silence and at times killed in our country.

Have we started distinguishing crime as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ ones? Otherwise, why the lynching and death of Pehlu Khan, a 55-year-old dairy farmer, on a national highway in Rajasthan, by a group of gau rakshaks (cow vigilantes) failed to outrage us? Why the six main accused named by Khan in his statement to the police before his death are still scot-free? Currently, we are only confronted with questions. We have no answers to these unbearable, but ignored truths.

Coming to the vexed issue of Kashmir, currently, we are seeing a slow and sure division among Indians over it. Because of Kashmir, we saw several wars in the sub-continent since 1947 and India’s continuous fight against Pakistan-sponsored terrorist activists. Clearly, India can fight against Pakistan–the enemy neighbour. But how could India fight against India? How could Indians be pitted against Indians over Kashmir? And, how could we ask Kashmiris to leave any part of India? Aren’t a Kashmiri as much as an Indian, as say a Bengali, a Tamilian, a Bihari and a Maharashtrian, to name a few? When we claim Kashmir to be an integral part of India, how could its natives be aliens to Indians?

The hoardings in Meerut asking Kashmiris to leave Uttar Pradesh are something beyond comprehension. “Bhartiya sena par pathar maarne wale Kashmiryon ka bahishkar. Kashmiriyo Uttar Pradesh chodo warna… (Boycott those Kashmiris who pelt stones at Indian Army. Kashmiris leave UP or….)”, stated the Meerut hoardings.

The warning against Kashmiris in these hoardings is loud and clear. In a few words, all Kashmiris are labelled as stone pelters, the enemies of the Indian Army, who need to be boycotted. The xenophobic and bigoted assertion of a group of ‘mainland’ Indians over another group of ‘marginalised’ Indians is the testimony of divisive politics of our times.

Still, those who have put the hoardings in the city are yet to be detained, even after Uttar Pradesh Nav Nirman Sena, a little known Hindu group, has taken responsibility of committing the ‘crime’.

Recently, several Kashmiri students were brutally beaten up right in front of the Mewar University in Rajasthan by a group of local people. The Kashmiri students were once again called as “stone-pelters”, the enemy of the country and its army.

The attempt of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to quell fear among the Kashmiris staying in various parts of the country by asking state governments to ensure their safety was definitely a move in the right direction, but was not enough, because times are difficult and words fail to convey the message.

Unless and until, the Centre does not send out a strong note by taking action against those who are responsible for spreading fear and division in the name of nationalism and religion, these kinds of incidents are likely to spread faster than a ‘wild fire’ across the country.

Terming as ridiculous C P Ganga’s statement that stone-throwers need to be dealt with bullets, Geelani said: “They are Hindu terrorists in power corridors and enjoy support and favors of Delhi. We have no system to check these elements, otherwise he should have been in jail.”

BJP leader Ram Madhav’s statement on the controversial human shield incident is the right-wing party’s “national policy” on Jammu and Kashmir, Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani said on Friday, day after Madhav backed an army officer who had strapped a man to an jeep as human shield in Budgam district.
In a statement, Geelani said the recent statement of J&K minister C P Ganga “may be his personal opinion”, but Ram Madhav’s statement is “serious as he figures among top-ranking leaders in the BJP cadre”.

“They have declared a war and his statement stands testimony to it. It serves as a clear chit to forces to carry out massacres in the state,” Geelani said, day after Madhav remarked on the Budgam human shield issue that “everything is fair in love and war.”
“It is a dangerous sign and carries perilous message to forces to go ahead with killings and serves as an apparent threat to people,” he said.
Terming as ridiculous C P Ganga’s statement that stone-throwers need to be dealt with bullets, Geelani said: “They are Hindu terrorists in power corridors and enjoy support and favors of Delhi. We have no system to check these elements, otherwise he should have been in jail.”

Calling NC leaders’ reaction (to such issues) a “mockery”, Geelani said their main aim is to remain in power corridors, otherwise they should have submitted their resignations. “Their rhetoric speaks how sincere they are with the nation.”
“I fear that something may happen in future and some bad events are in store for us,” Geelani said, appealing to the UN General Secretary and the OIC to take cognizance of “threat statements” of BJP leaders.
He also asked the international agencies to break their silence. “In case any untoward happens to people, they will be held responsible. If the UN wants to save our new generation from the Indian barbarity, it has to rise above statements,” he said.
“Tying a youth to bonnet of a jeep is a war crime and the forces’ personnel involved in such gruesome acts should be dealt with and accorded stringent punishment,” he said.
“BJP minister’s statement testifies that forces enjoy backing and a free hand and I feel worried about the situation arising out of this development,” he said, adding: “We are facing Hindu terrorism sponsored by Delhi and possibly they may repeat 1947-like massacre when 15 lakh people were forced to leave their state.”

‘Cat Is Out of Bag’
The Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Friday reacted sharply to Ram Madhav’s statement, saying the “cat is out of the bag.”
“The statement of Madhav wherein he has condoned and complimented the army for using a civilian as a human shield reflects the real BJP-RSS mindset and approach towards the people of Kashmir,” Mirwaiz said in a statement.
He said: “Finally the cat is out of the bag. Madhav’s justification of the inhuman act as everything being fair in love and war finally is an open admission by the Government of India that it considers itself at war with the people of Kashmir and will treat Kashmiris as such,” Mirwaiz said in a statement issued here. “We have been bearing the brunt of this policy towards Kashmiris for the past 30 years in particular. Madhav’s admission should be an eye opener for the world community as to what GOI’s attitude towards the people of Kashmir is and how it sees them.” Mirwaiz said it is shocking that a country which prides itself of being the world’s largest democracy and flaunts its democratic credentials world over, “brazenly endorses using violence and armed repression through its massive military might against an unarmed civilian population for demanding a basic democratic right of deciding its fate.”
“The statements made by Madhav and his colleagues like Ganga are also aimed at poisoning the public opinion in India against the people of Kashmir by portraying Kashmiris as radicals and fanatics who have to be tamed with bullets and pellets in the national interest of India while exploiting this narrative to expand its vote bank,” he said. “It is clear that since the dispensation in New Delhi does not want to resolve the dispute in and over Kashmir but maintain the status quo, it can do so only by using its armed forces as an instrument of coercion and control over the disputed territory and its people. So it has to keep their morale high by justifying anything they do use the armed forces for serving their political end.”
Mirwaiz said the treatment meted out to Kashmiri students in states across India is a matter of grave concern.
Referring to the incident in Mewar Rajasthan where Kashmiris students were beaten and harassed, Mirwaiz said such behaviour against Kashmiri students has become a norm now and the authorities in these regions are responsible for the safety and security of the students if they have been given admission to educational institutions there.
Meanwhile, for the seventh consecutive Friday, Mirwaiz was barred from offering obligatory Friday prayers at central Jamia Masjid of Srinagar as he continues to be kept under house arrest by the state for the past almost two months, a spokesman of Hurriyat (M) said.
“The whole nation condemns this anti-Muslim and anti-human violation of the fundamental religious rights of the Mirwaiz and of all those leaders, religious and political activists and common people whom the authoritarian state treats in a similar way,” he said.

Yasin Malik Census Ganga, Madhav
Reacting to statements of Chander Parkash Ganga and Ram Madhav, the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik on Friday said everything “devilish is possible from the people whose forefathers took inspiration from tyrants like Mussolini and Hitler.”
But, he said, these people should know that “every fascist has his time but their fate is going to be no different than that of Hitler and Mussolini.”
“It is a historical fact that the founders of RSS had met Mussolini and Hitler and were inspired by these enemies of humanity. Hitler and Mussolini killed people in gas chambers without any regret and today Ram Madhav and somebody called Ganga, by issuing nonsensical statements, are proving their fascist credentials. As a matter of fact, these fascists enjoy power today and can overpower anyone they intend to, but it is equally a fact that their fate will also be like Hitler’s and Mussolini’s and last defeat will be their only,” Malik said in a hard-hitting statement.
“Some non-entity called Ganga is saying Kashmiris only deserve bullets and Ram Madhav is justifying a Kashmiri being used as a human shield, saying everything is fair in love and war. Both these statements are a manifestation of their frustration and also a testimony to the fact that India has taken control of Jammu Kashmir by its military might and is treating Kashmir as its colony and also is at war with the people of Kashmir,” Malik said.
“BJP, their RSS masters and their allies in Jammu Kashmir should remember that Kashmiri resistance against their oppression and fascism will continue at every cost and their defeat in Kashmir is writing on the wall,” Malik said.

The Jammu and Kashmir government is thinking of blocking social media including Facebook, Whatsapp and YouTube in the Valley.

The authorities in Kashmir have decided to block social media (Facebook, Whatsapp and YouTube after the recent circulation of videos showing security forces beating up civilians, which are believed to lead to widespread protests in the volatile Valley.
Sources said that the “decision will be taken soon” to ban the social media in Kashmir, rather than shutting down the internet repeatedly after any volatile situation arises.
The authorities have been shutting down internet in the Valley off and on after last year’s unrest after killing of Hizbul Commander Burhan Wani and recently during bypolls for Srinagar Parliamentary seat in which 8 people were killed on election day.
The internet bandwidth of the internet has been already reduced to 2G after the recent student protests across the Valley.
“The decision to block social media will be taken soon. The government is, principally, of the view that social media has been creating volatile situation in Kashmir. To avoid the spread of rumours, fake news and develop a panicky situation that leads to violence, we are forced to take the decision,” a senior minister in the government said.
“We are forced to take this decision as any action or medium that is deteriorating peace and security, and proving fatal for the people requires to be acted upon,” the minister added.
An official said that the security agencies have been mulling from some time to block access to social media like Facebook, Whatsapp and other sites.
Tensions have been escalating after students clashed with security forces at several places in Kashmir Valley on Monday during protests against the alleged “high-handedness” of security forces at a college in Pulwama in south Kashmir.
The authorities have also ordered all the colleges to remain closed in the state for the next two days in view of the protests.

Hurriyat (M) Chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq denounced what he termed as “use of savage force” against students, terming it as ‘worst form of state terrorism.’

Various pro-freedom parties have condemned forces’ action on protesting students in various districts of Kashmir saying “student community was being targeted to create psychosis and break their resolve for right to self-determination.”
Expressing concern over increasing use of “repressive measures” by the armed forces against civilians and student community, the Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani, in a statement today, said, “Kashmiri people are facing state terrorism.”
“As far as the ground situation is concerned, there is simmering lava against state terrorism and excesses perpetrated by the government, army and local police. We won’t tolerate this and will resent if not stopped forthwith. Our students’ career is at risk and this is unbearable.”
Referring to Pulwama incident, Geelani said, “The forces laid a naka outside college and without any reason entered college premises, thrashed and injured many.”
Hailing student community, Geelani said, “It is encouraging that they in solidarity with their brethren staged peaceful protest, however forces and police resorted to brute force against them in which scores including girl students received injuries.”
Lashing out at forces and police, Geelani said, “They unnecessarily target student community and use brute force. They should note that people in state are pursuing their right to self-determination and there is no justification for bullying and highhandedness.”
Geelani asked New Delhi to stop their “callous approach”, saying instead of employing “repressive and coercive measures” against people’, they need to address the core issue and take steps for its lasting solution.
“New Delhi is hell-bent to create disturbances to break our economical and education sectors. We are keeping a close eye on the situation and will take requiring measures to check these conspiracies,” he said.
Hurriyat (M) Chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq denounced what he termed as “use of savage force” against students, terming it as ‘worst form of state terrorism.’
Reacting to the widespread protests across various educational institutions across Kashmir by the students against assault on their counterparts in Pulwama, Mirwaiz said that “barbaric raj of Indian forces and police was prevalent in Kashmir to the extent that troopers and police did not even spare protesting students as they forcibly barged into their educational institutions and fired tear gas canisters, showered pellets, and ruthlessly tortured them which was amply displayed in every nook and corner of the valleys educational institutions, as if seeking revenge from the students.”
Mirwaiz said that “the anguish of the students is understandable given the repression and barbarity of the state that they are witnessing around them.”
He however, asked the students to be cautious and take care of themselves “as no restraint or disciplined response can be expected from the unbridled Indian forces and the police in dealing with them as they have been given a free hand to kill and maim Kashmiris under any pretext.”
“The state will justify the barbarity of its forces through its prejudiced media by labeling them as “antinational” and justify assaulting and punishing them accordingly before their nation and the world,” he added.
Chairman of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Muhammad Yasin Malik also condemned action on students saying “Police, SOG and CRPF along with Indian army crossed every limit of brutality at Pulwama Degree College and dozens of girl and boy students were injured by police. Highhandedness of Police and army was evident through various videos on social media.”
“Today Kashmiri students across the valley with one voice staged peaceful protest against this brutality and at various places the oppressive attitude was repeated against unarmed peaceful students. Attacks on colleges and schools and brutalizing students is not acceptable to any civilized society and today’s peaceful protest by students of Kashmir is a genuine, legal and democratic protest and stopping it by police might cannot be termed but as clear state terrorism.”
Malik said that “choking every little space on peaceful protests and banning every peaceful activity is ‘undemocratic’ in every way and today what has transpired at every college and school is ‘a glaring example of police highhandedness and suppression.”
Chairman Tehreek-e-Mazahmat Bilal Sidiqee condemned use of force against students saying “police and forces are responsible for deteriorating situation in state.” “Showering pellets and bullets against student community is unacceptable,” he said.
Condemning the use of force against students across Kashmir, the senior Hurriyat (G) leader and Jammu Kashmir National Front chairman Nayeem Ahmad Khan, in a statement today, said, “New Delhi should realise that Kashmiris are united and demand freedom from India in one voice.” Khan praised the student community for their valour and resolve.
“Freedom is not so far when young generation is so determined. Today’s student protest against the atrocities is a clear message to India that freedom struggle has transferred successfully to the younger generation that will not accept any kind of atrocities,” Khan said.
Terming the use of excessive force on students as unacceptable, the incarcerated chairman of Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) Shabir Ahmad Shah on Monday said “New Delhi through such suppressive tactics cannot hold its forcible occupation of J&K.”
Chairman JKLF (H) Javaid Ahmad Mir while condemning the forces action saying “present government is fulfilling the aims of RSS in the Kashmir.”
Democratic Liberation Party (DLP) chairman, Hashim Qureshi said “it is unfortunate that the students are assaulted and thrashed for raising their voice in solidarity with their colleagues. He also expressed sympathy with the students who were injured.
Castigating government for using force against the protesting students, the senior Hurriyat (G) leader and president Anjuman Shari Shian Aga Syed Hasan Almosvi Alsafvi, in a statement today, said, “After facing humiliation in recent parliament elections, India has now pursued a brute oppressive policies to subdue people of Kashmir.”
Employees’ Joint Action Committee (EJAC) president and Jammu and Kashmir Teachers Forum (JKTF) chairman Abdul Qayoom Wani condemned “the brutal actions of security forces in Government Degree Colloge, Pulwama.” Terming the forces’ action as “inhuman, unjustified and unconstitutional”, Wani, in a statement today, demanded immediate probe into the incident and punishment to the erring personnel. He also asked the authorities to ensure full safety and security of educational institutions.
Kashmir University Teachers’ Association strongly condemned use of force on students in college campuses. “Entering of forces into academic campuses is “sheer provocation that only triggers hostile situations.” KUTA spokesperson said.
Condemning the use of force against students, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association Srinagar Monday appealed to all Human Rights Organizations of the World, more particularly, the International Criminal Court of Justice (ICJ) to take sou-moto cognizance of the matter and “initiate action against all those who have been and are responsible in the killing, maiming and blinding of Kashmiri people ever since from 1947.
Meanwhile, Private Schools Association of Kashmir chairman GN Var, Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) Chairman Muhammad Yasin Khan, All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference leaders Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba Jammu and Kashmir (IJT), have also condemned use of force against students.

Locals Rename Chowk In Memory Of Youth Killed By BSF

On the fifth consecutive day on Friday the highway township Baroosa and adjoining areas continued to remain shut to mourn the killing of a local youth, Omar Farooq (25), by Border Security Force on April 9.
Locals assembled outside Jamia Masjid Baroosa after Friday prayers and marched up to main chowk where they staged sit-in for an hour.
A Hurriyat (G) leader after addressing prayer congregation in the Jamia Masjid lead the protest march.

“We demand probe in the matter, arrest of killers and punishment to the guilty,” the protesters said.
Other areas which observed shutdown include Tulamulla, Lar, Thooru, Dangerpora, Yangoora and Kurhama.
Locals at Baroosa announced that the Baroosa chowk is hereafter re-named as Omar Chowk. “We are soon going to install a signboard with photo and name of Omar Farooq,” a group of residents at Baroosa said.
Locals said that Omar Farooq of Baroosa was killed and two other youth received bullet injuries when a BSF party on election duty opened fire on protesters at Baroosa on April 9, the day when elections were conducted in central Kashmir.
Seven other youth were killed by security forces in Budgam district on the same day.

More than 35 schools were damaged by protesters in Budgam district during the Srinagar parliamentary bypoll on April 9.
Chief Education Officer (CEO), Budgam, Inderjeet Sharma said 35-40 schools, where polling stations were set up, were damaged by protesters on April 9.
“According to our preliminary assessment, nearly 35-40 schools were attacked by protesters where polling stations were set up. It will take us two more days to come up with a report and assess the full damage,” said the CEO.
The official said around 10 schools had been severely damaged and he would take up the issue with the election authorities.
“Doors, windows and other infrastructure have been damaged in schools. The schools did not open after April 9 due to strike and other holidays. We will be able to assess the situation in these institutions tomorrow,” the CEO said, adding that a team will assess the schools one by one.
He said that during repolling in 38 polling stations in Budgam district on April 13, there were no protests and no schools were damaged.
In Budgam, 547 polling booths were set up in educational institutions during the Srinagar parliamentary byelections on April 9. The day witnessed violence, resulting in eight deaths and injuries to hundreds.
Since the unrest last year, many government schools have been damaged or set ablaze. Following the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani in July last year, 37 schools were set ablaze by miscreants. The schools are yet to be rebuilt.
During the bypoll to the Srinagar parliamentary constituency on April 9, two schools were set afire in Shopian and Pulwama districts of volatile south Kashmir.
‘Will take up issue with poll authorities’
In Budgam, 547 polling booths were set up in educational institutions during the Srinagar parliamentary by elections on April 9
Chief Education Officer, Budgam, Inderjeet Sharma said 10 of the 40 schools had been severely damaged and he would take up the issue with the election authorities

Criticising authorities for holding elections in poll bound areas amidst crackdown and deployment of heavy contingent of forces, separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik Thursday asked the government to accept reality and shun the egoistic approach.
Lamenting at state administration, they said, “The authorities are deliberately adding fuel to fire and vitiating prevailing disturbance. Re-polling in Budgam and rescheduling polls in Anantnag constituency is just to affect the routine life and school education.”
The leaders welcomed the statement of Anjumam -e- Sher-e- Shiyaan and said that proposed peoples’ congregation will send a unity message and participants will offer their tributes to martyrs.
They said in poll bound areas of Budgam, police launched a heavy crackdown against youth and created panic. “However, the election once again proved a flop show.”
Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik asked Delhi and J&K Government to stop these flop shows as these “foolish moves are proving a nuisance and a reason for continuous bloodshed.”
They asked authorities to accept reality and shun their egoistic approach.
“Right to self-determination is a viable and acceptable solution to vexed problem, they said adding it will pave way for political stability in the region.

Businessmen, students fume over internet blockade

Even though the broadband internet service was restored in Valley on Tuesday but the continuous suspension of the mobile data service till April 13 has infuriated the people.
The internet services in the Valley were suspended hours before Srinagar constituency went to polls on April 9.
“Ban on internet is ridiculous, not a single place on earth bars its citizens from accessing the internet,” said Bilal Ahmad, a bioinformatics student of the University of Kashmir. “Unfortunately, it happens only in Kashmir.”
Media has also been hit by the internet blockade.
“My news portal used to get thousands of hits and my YouTube channel also makes money. But after the ban, the views have dropped,” said an editor of a news portal. “I will have to redo all work to get audience again.”
The frustration among the youth was visible with many being spotted playing ‘Gali Cricket’ while others were testing their luck to catch an open broadband WiFi signals.
“I am so disturbed with this internet ban that I’ve been continuously taping on the internet icon on my phone since morning hoping it returns?” said 20-year-old Aiman Shah.
Many top Kashmiri brands moved their operations outside the Valley owing to the constant threat of disruption of internet services.
“After suffering huge losses in business, I had no other option but to shift my office to New Delhi in 2016,” said Aabid Lone, who runs Infotech call center in Delhi.
“I don’t think I’ll return to the Valley as more and more business outlets are shifting outside Kashmir due to the internet gag there.”
Javed Ahmad, an internet, addict said ever since the internet was shut he feels restless.
“I’m not able to stay connected with my friends!” he said.

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