J&K shuts down coaching centres over Kathua protests

Kashmir student protests Education minister orders tuition centres to shut for 90 days

Students protest demanding justice for the eight-year-old girl who was murdered in Kathua | PTI

"We by request and by passing an official order will ask coaching centers to shut their shops", Bukhari told reporters after a meeting of chief education officers, zonal education officers and principals of higher secondary schools here.

"The case has put emotional stress on the students and they need parents' counselling", said J&K Education Minister Altaf Bukhari in Srinagar.

Kashmir has been in the throes of spiraling student protests in the past month or so to seek justice for the Kathua rape-murder victim whose body was found in Rasana village on January 10.

Dozens of students, including girls have been injured in these protests which have been going on for more than two weeks now. "There are several instances in our notice where students took to protests when they weren't allowed inside a school for being late", he was quoted as saying.

According to a report in the Greater Kashmir, principal of a college in southern Kashmir told the meeting that whenever students of his college start protesting peacefully, they are stopped by the policemen from the police station adjacent to the campus, which leads to clashes.

"We use force whenever the protests turn violent". "Since previous year, student protests are growing, which is a major cause of concern and the trend has to be arrested as soon as possible", he said.

"Education Minister's decision to close coaching centres seems an action of revenge against the student community, who were well within their limits to protest against Kathua incident", he said. We do not know which centres are to be shut.

However, the order shall have no bearing on coaching centres which provide coaching for professional courses for the students who have already passed 12th class examination. Instead, we are doing injustice with somebody to whom we pelt stones upon.

"There are also apprehensions that some teachers are provoking the students to stage protests or they may be themselves indulging in these activities which have derailed the education system". Students have every right to raise their voice against frequent injustices happening and also have every right to raise their voice against the gruesome Kathua Crime.

The state's education director GN Itoo also hinted at the shutting down of coaching centres as a deterrent to student protests while maintaining that the decision is backed purely by academic reasons.

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