Kashmir : Three school buildings set afire in Bandipora

Srinagar, Oct 25: Three school buildings were set ablaze by unknown persons in Kashmir over the past 24 hours, setting alarm bells ringing among authorities who have decided to step up security around educational institutions.

A Government school was set ablaze by unknown persons in the wee hours today in Noorbagh area of the city but the blaze was put out by fire tenders, a police official said.

He said the school building suffered damage in the fire and the firefighting operation.

In another incident, miscreants tried to burn down Government Higher Secondary School at Aishmuqam in Anantnag district, the official said.

The school building was saved by the timely intervention of fire brigade personnel, he said adding one window panel was damaged due to the fire.

Last night, fire broke out in a building of Government Middle School in Sadrukote Bala of Bandipora district.

Fire tenders were rushed in and the blaze was put out, the official said, adding the incident is suspected to be handiwork of miscreants.

The official said in view of these incidents, the security patrol around school buildings have been increased to ensure that such incidents are not repeated.

State government has announced that annual board examinations will be held next month even though the schools have remained closed since July following killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces.

Protests have been held against the government decision to hold examinations.

According to reports, in the last four days, at least four schools have been gutted in fire.

These include: Government High School at Kawoosa, Magam, Government High School Aripanthan, Beerwah (which was damaged in fire on Sunday, October 23 evening), Government Girls School Watto, Kulgam which was also gutted in fire on October 21, and Government Higher Secondary school in Bugam, Kulgam which was completely destroyed in blaze in the intervening night of 21 and 22 October.

Around 15 schools in total have been gutted throughout the Valley in mysteriously triggered fires during the last three months, which have become a major impediment in the education of students and causing severe damage to the state’s academic infrastructure.