08/20/2019, 09.44
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Kashmiri schools reopen, but pupils remain at home

The resumption of lessons is disputed by parents who do not want to endanger their children's lives.  After the revocation of the special status of semi-autonomy, the Indian state is militarized.  Internet and transport suspended: shops closed and commercial production blocked.


New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Children's lives are more important than books, so classrooms remain empty: this is the reason that has driven hundreds of Jammu and Kashmir parents not to send their children to school after the reopening of educational institutions. 

Yesterday the Union authorities established the resumption of lessons in over 190 schools of the state, closed for two weeks due to the guerrilla war that broke out following Delhi's decision to revoke the semi-autonomous status of the territory.  Parents preferred to leave their children at home for fear of new violence.  Gulzar Ahmad, a father of two children, says: "How could we risk the lives of our children?  In the last two weeks, soldiers arrested minors and several children were injured in the clashes.  Our children are safe at home ".

Tariq Aziz, with a son enrolled in a private school in Srinagar, argues that the choice not to accompany children to school is a form of protest from parents.  "I want my son to know - he says - that India is trying to requisition our land.  Our future is at risk in Kashmir.  I want him to become aware of the fact that you have to fight for this in the future ”.

Meanwhile, tension remains high in the Kashmir Valley, disputed by India and Pakistan since the partition of 1947. The roads are patrolled by soldiers and telephone services and public transport remain suspended.  Most shops are also closed and commercial activities have blocked production.

The clashes have followed one another since August 5, after the government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, Hindu nationalist party) imposed the revocation of art.  370 of the Indian Constitution.  The rule guaranteed a special status to the State of Jammu and Kashmir with a Muslim majority, allowing the approval of separate laws, a flag different from the rest of the Union and an autonomous Constitution;  other areas, such as defense, foreign affairs and communications, remained instead the prerogative of the central government.  Article.  35A (corollary of the 370) granted other special privileges to the residents, guaranteeing exclusive rights on the land.

According to Delhi, which had included the abolition of the special status in this year's election manifesto, Art.  370 was the main obstacle to the full integration of the Muslim population.  For the critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the decision instead intends to change the demographic composition of the territory, with a majority Muslim population (while the rest of the country has a Hindu majority).  For residents, the political move has the sole objective of expropriating their land, allowing it to be bought by other citizens.

At the moment the State, divided into two territorial entities administered by the Union, now looks like a militarized territory:  another 120 thousand have been added to the 500 thousand soldiers who guard the border with Pakistan.  Government sources report that around 4,000 people have been arrested under the Public Safety Act, which allows detention for up to two years even in the absence of a public prosecution or trial.  However, the authorities do not confirm these numbers.

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