Schools reopened in Indian-occupied Kashmir’s main city on Monday but most classrooms were empty as parents kept their children home, fearing unrest over the New Delhi’s decision two weeks ago to revoke the region’s autonomy.
Some 190 primary schools were set open in Srinagar as a sign of normalcy returning to Muslim majority Jammu and Kashmir as authorities ease a clampdown aimed at preventing mass protests.
Parents said that they were worried about safety, thus, their children would stay home until cellular networks are restored and valley’s situation becomes permissive for the Muslims.
“How can we risk the lives of our children?” said Gulzar Ahmad, a father of two who are enrolled in a school in the city’s Batamallo district.
“Troops have arrested minor children in the last two weeks and several children were injured in clashes,” he added. “Our children are safe inside their homes. If they go to school who can guarantee their safety?”
Classrooms at schools visited by reporters mostly appeared emptyAuthorities were not immediately available for comment, but have previously denied reports of mass arrest.
Protests began after the Aug 5 decision by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to withdraw occupied Kashmir’s special status and integrate it fully into India, with equal rights for all Indians to buy property there and compete for government jobs.
Critics said the decision will alienate many Kashmiris and add fuel to a 30-year uprising in the Himalayan territory.