December 2002 News

Schoolgirls, Stay Home: Hizbul

3 December 2002
The Indian Express

Jammu: For the second time in two years, the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) has put up posters in Darhal tehsil of Rajouri district of Jammu province threatening that girls above 12 years of age should not continue their studies. It has also specified a dress code of white Pathan suits and white Suleimani caps for teachers. The People’s Democratic Party-led state government has taken a serious note of these threats. Talking to The Indian Express, Minister for School Education Harsh Dev Singh said: ‘‘The state government will provide every possible help to the people of the area to ensure that they don’t feel scared.’’ He added that he hoped the people would not take the threats seriously. However, according to reports reaching here, the threats have started having an impact. Most of the parents of the area have not been sending their daughters above 12 years to schools for the past couple of days. The worst-affected villages are Topa, Raiki Bhan, Saj and Thannamandi Main — there are two government higher secondary schools, six high schools, 10 middle schools and a number of primary schools in these areas. Last time too, the HM threat had had immediate affect in the area. But later, with the intervention of some educated members of the Muslim community, they had restarted sending their daughters to schools. According to Singh, Pakistan was responsible for the latest threats and the militants have been issuing them at the behest of its intelligence agency ISI. ‘‘Pakistan does not want peace in the state, whereas several steps taken by the state government are leading towards bringing back normalcy. That’s why the ISI has been forced to ensure that such threats are issued,’’ he charged. In reply to a question, the Education Minister reiterated that the recent spurt in militancy-related incidents in the state and such threats had nothing to do with the ‘‘healing touch’’ policy of the coalition government.

 

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