Schools reopen in Kashmir, Omar says spare the kids

As schools reopened after 3 months, CM asked separatists not to tgt school kids by boycott calls.

Jammu: As schools in Kashmir Valley
reopened today after over three months, Jammu and Kashmir
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah asked hardline Hurriyat leader
Syed Ali Shah Geelani and other separatists not to target
school children by their boycott calls.

Though the educational institutions reopened today,
attendance was thin against the backdrop of Geelani`s call to
parents not to send their wards to schools and colleges and
his appeal to teachers to stay at home.

"We hope Syed Ali Geelani and other separatists will
cooperate and will not target children because they are coming
to schools," Omar told reporters here.

"It is unfortunate certain separatist leaders have
decided that children`s education is not important.. Education
should be kept out of the purview of any conflict," he said.

The government had yesterday announced a comprehensive
plan for resumption of classes in schools and colleges and
holding of annual examinations in the Valley.

However, Geelani had asked people to strictly observe
"civil curfew" when schools and colleges resume their normal
functioning in the Valley and also appealed to teachers and
the non-teaching staff to stay at home.

Omar hit out at local media for creating a "hype" over
the development.

"I was very disappointed this morning to seek OB vans
parked outside schools (in Kashmir). You were filming children
being brought to schools. You were unnecessarily making
targets out of children, where it should not have been done.

"Please don`t give much hype... the moment media starts
projecting this as somebody`s victory or somebody`s loss, you
are endangering the lives of the children more than anybody
else," he said, while inaugurating a hospital project here.

"Please cooperate with the government. Education is now a
fundamental right of children. We want to restore that right.
We are doing everything possible to ensure safety of children
coming to schools."

On the response of the Centre`s eight-point package, he
termed it as "mixed" and said a beginning has been made.

The package was not announced to make any particular
person happy, he said, adding the aim is to resume political
dialogue, reach out to people who have lost their kin and show
them that government stands by them in difficult times besides
compensating the losses to an extent.

"As I said right in the beginning, that it is nobody`s
victory or defeat. It is victory of those children who have
been able to come back to schools and resume their education,"
he said.


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