‘Education Department denies information to civil society under RTI’

Srinagar, April 07 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, the school education department has denied information under RTI (Right to Information) Act regarding occupation of schools by the Indian forces in last three decades. The information was sought by Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS).

A report ‘Terrorized – Impact of violence on children of Jammu and Kashmir’, prepared by the JKCCS said that the education department had denied information to it.

“The information regarding the number of schools and colleges occupied or vacated by the forces in the last three decades was not provided by the department citing no such data has been maintained,” the report said.

Human rights activist and Programme Coordinator of the JKCCS, Khuram Parvez, said, “We have been seeking information from the department consistently, but they do not respond.” He said the schools and colleges are the property of the department and forces cannot enter an institution without its permission.

Quoting the report ‘State of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir (1990-2005’ of Public Commission on Human Rights (PCHR), the JKCCS said there were 46 schools and educational establishments occupied by the forces during that period.

“Schools, colleges, and other educational institutions in Jammu and Kashmir have been used as military bases, interrogation centers, and military posts. The continued military use of schools in Kashmir not only violates children’s right to education, but also puts them at risk of being sexually exploited and harassed by the forces,” the JKCCS report said.

“The report ‘State of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir (1990-2005)’ maintained that there has been an alarming increase in the dropout rate of the school going children mostly of 1st to 7th standard students,” the JKCCS said.

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