Exams amidst explosions – education along the border

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Academia in Jammu has taken a heavy blow, with intensive firing along the border by Pakistan Rangers. At least 25 Indian posts and over 18 villages were targeted along the international border in the Arnia, RS Pura, Kanachak, Pargwal and Akhnoor sectors of Jammu district.

Pakistan Rangers have been bombarding Fatehpur, Brahmana, (a border village barely 1.5km from Zero Line – along the Line of Control) and others, with mortars and heavy machine gun fire since last week.

The most worrying sight, however, is that of schoolchildren sitting to write their examinations while mortars explode not too far away.

Schoolchildren write their exams in a school in the R S Pura district (Photo courtesy Nitin Kanotra, HT Photo)

Schoolchildren write their exams in a school in the R S Pura district (Photo courtesy Nitin Kanotra, HT Photo)

The state government, on one hand, has claimed to have shut down schools on the border until normalcy is restored in the Valley. However, school administrators have said that neither the chief education officer, nor any other officer of the government has given them instructions to cease operating.

“ … half yearly exams had to be conducted and that is why they were asked to attend the school,” Sonam Sharma, headmistress of the Bal Kisan Academy in Fathepur Brahmana, told the Hindustan Times.

The villagers are unhappy by this turn of events, to say the least. “Jammu region has hundreds of schools on the Indo-Pak border and during tense relations between the two countries, small school children could be sitting ducks for the trigger happy Pakistan rangers,” Mohan Lal, a villager, said.

“It was right to question the school headmistress but she, too, had not been informed by anyone from the government. This is how this government treats the people along the border,” he said. Government authorities are yet to comment.

Tensions along the border flared up when Pakistan violated the ceasefire agreement- 39 times since India’s surgical strike on September 29, and twice on Tuesday.

The Border Security Force (BSF) has, in the last one week, foiled three infiltration attempts by Pakistani forces.

[Sources from The Hindustan Times and www.firstpost.com]

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