08/23/2016, 10.02
INDIA
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Curfew in Kashmir: Children get to school thanks to volunteers

The curfew has been in place for almost two months. The protests between separatists and security forces killed at least 60 people. Volunteers working in private homes, in mosques and reception rooms, after several couples have decided to postpone their wedding.

Srinagar (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Because of the curfew imposed by the Delhi authorities in the region, schools have been closed for almost two months in many parts of Kashmir. But to prevent children from losing the school year, several volunteers have set up makeshift centers in their private homes or in mosques, in order to ensure the continuity of teaching.

The population of Indian Kashmir is living under tight security following the protests that reupted after the killing of a popular separatist leader who fought for the independence of the state from the Indian Federation. The death of Burhan Wani, a militant of the Hizbul Mujahideen group who became famous for his exploits posted on social networks, has unleashed a wave of resentment in the whole territory.

Kashmir has been a disputed territory between India and Pakistan since the separation of 1947. Repeated attempts to establish independence and a latent conflict have caused tens of thousands of deaths, mostly among civilians.

According to experts, the recent protests were the bloodiest since 2010 and killed at least 60 people in clashes with Indian security forces. Hundreds were injured and are still suffering from severe eye damage, hit by pellet bullets (banned for at least ten years).

Life under curfew is destabilizing not only for adults, but especially for children. At least 200 of these have now returned to the high school in Rainawari mosque in Srinagar, the summer capital, thanks to the work of 20 volunteers. They offer their expertise for free, and study books, tables and chairs were provided by anonymous donors.

Other students instead were welcomed in reception halls, which have remained empty after couples decided to postpone their marriage. Among these students there is Tabi, 7 years old, who before the curfew was unable to attend classes regularly. Now she is “close to her new teachers and friends."

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