A month before the Government of India cracked the whip and decided to put NDTV’s Hindi news channel off air between November 9 and 10, the Jammu and Kashmir government had banned The Kashmir Reader – a popular Kashmiri daily.

The ban was imposed on October 2 this year on charges that articles published by the newspaper could incite violence is still on despite protests by journalists and Editors’ Guild of India’s appeal to chief minister Mehbooba Mufti to reconsider the order to ban the publication.
The ban order, issued by Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Farooq Ahmad Lone, said the newspaper contains “material and content which tends to incite acts of violence and disturb public peace and tranquility.” An official release issued by the Director Information said the ban order was issued a week after a notice was served to the newspaper.

According to editor Mir Hilal, however, there was no prior notice or communication from the government. “If there was a problem with the content, they could have sought an explanation from us,” he had told the AFP news agency.

The state government had imposed a three-day ban on publication of newspapers in July describing it as a “temporary measure to address an extraordinary situation.” The Valley is on the boil in the wake of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8 and normalcy is yet to return. For seventeenth consecutive weeks, mandatory congregational Friday prayers are not being allowed in the historical Jamia Masjid in Srinagar.

Teachers become gatekeepers

The J&K government has asked all teachers and non-teaching staff of schools in Kashmir to keep round the clock vigil in their institutions. The decision was taken following spate of attacks on schools during the ongoing unrest in the valley in. At least 29 schools have been set ablaze so far.

Director of School Education Kashmir, Aijaz Ahmad told Greater Kashmir newspaper on Friday, “Protecting schools is the responsibility of all sections of the society. The Police can’t protect 8000 schools in the valley. We have to work together.”

“In order to ensure safeguard of schools at least an official shall remain physically present round the clock,” reads a circular issued by the director of school education to all chief education officers of Kashmir. Women have also been asked to do night duties except in Kupwara.

The decision has sparked resentment. Professor AG Madhosh accused the government of ridiculing the teachers’ community. “No doubt there is a situation but it is shameful on part of the government to ask teachers to guard schools,” he said.

Chairman Rehbar-e-Taleem (ReT) teachers’ forum Farooq Ahmad Tantray said deputing teachers for night duty was a “dishonor” to the profession. “Safeguarding schools is a law and order issue. The job of a teacher is to teach and educate students and not to perform the role of guards,” Tantray said.

Meanwhile, in a breather for students, J&K government has decided to hold separate examinations for class 10 and 12 students in March next year if they fail to appear in already scheduled exams in November this year.