Chidambaram assails stone-pelters as Kashmir schools reopen

Home Minister P Chidambaram expressed happiness over schools reopening in the Kashmir Valley on Monday and students attending classes after three-and-half months of closure.

Last Updated: Sep 27, 2010, 15:03 PM IST

New Delhi: Home Minister P Chidambaram expressed happiness over schools reopening in the Kashmir Valley on Monday and students attending classes after three-and-half months of closure, and said attempts by stone-throwers to attack school buses were "mischievous".

"(The) government is happy to learn that most schools and colleges have reopened in Jammu and Kashmir and most students have gone back to schools (and) colleges today. I appeal to all sections of people of Kashmir, especially parents, to cooperate with the state government and ensure that all schools and colleges function normally," Chidambaram said in a statement here.

According to the Home Ministry, there were a few incidents of violence as some stone-throwers attacked school buses. "There were a few minor incidents of stone-pelting on school buses at Habak, Bemina and Nowgam," the statement said.

"How can any right-thinking person pelt stones at school buses?" Chidambaram asked.

"I hope that such mischief will stop immediately. Anyone who has the interest of the children at heart cannot indulge in stone-pelting, nor should anyone support such mischievous attempts to interfere with the functioning of schools and colleges," he said.

In the face of the separatist Hurriyat Conference asking parents not to send their children to school, the Jammu and Kashmir government made elaborate security and transport arrangements in Srinagar even as curfew continued.

In the Kashmir Valley, school staff turned up in large numbers, though students` attendances were thin.

Chidambaram said he was "confident that the few schools and colleges that remain closed today, presumably out of caution, will reopen tomorrow".

"I am also confident that the attendance will improve significantly tomorrow. The government of Jammu and Kashmir has assured us that every effort is being made to ensure that all schools and colleges reopen and function normally and that security will be provided to enable students to attend schools and colleges."

At least 108 people have been killed in the Kashmir Valley, mostly in firing by the security forces during clashes with stone-throwing protesters over the past three and a half months. The unrest had led to schools being shut in the Valley.

IANS