Militants keen to recruit J-K youngsters for nefarious activities: JD (U)

| Updated: Oct 31, 2016 22:51 IST

New Delhi [India], Oct 31 (ANI): Expressing grief over three schools being set on fire in the last 24 hours in Jammu and Kashmir, Janata Dal (United) leader Pawan Varma today said this is the agenda of terrorists and militants so that the young are prevented from attending schools and are available for other activities under their direction. "This is perhaps the single most worrying trend in the situation in Kashmir. It is quite clear that schools are being consciously targeted...and it is clear also why they are being targeted, which is to prevent the young from being occupied in schools and, therefore, be available for other activities as directed by militants, separatists and terrorists," Verma told ANI. "In my view, the first priority should be the vigilant protection of schools from such attacks so that this absolutely condemnable plan is defeated," he added. A government school was set on fire on Sunday by unidentified people in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag. This is the third school to be burnt in the state amongst the over 20 where arson has been reported in the last two months. A Jawahar Navodya Vidyalaya school in Aishmuqam was also set on fire on Saturday night. Officials said the cause of fire in both incidents has not been ascertained yet. Schools in Kashmir valley have been closed due to a shutdown call by separatist groups. Dozens of schools are also still occupied by security forces brought here to contain the unrest, which began after the 22-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani was killed on July 8. So far, the efforts to reopen schools have failed as both government and separatist groups are accusing each other of playing politics over education. The separatists have been saying that children are not safe outside homes because most of the people killed and injured during unrest were students. Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah has called for "strictest punishment" for the people behind the incidents and blamed both the government and separatists for "failing to speak up and act in time" to prevent such incidents. "Robbing our children of their classrooms and of the prospects of academic growth is the greatest act of tyranny and oppression," the National Conference leader said. (ANI)