Board exams usher in semblance of normalcy in troubled Kashmir
After an unremitting two month long tussle between the state government and the students who wanted their exams postponed to March, the annual examinations for Class 10 and 12 have begun in troubled Kashmir and contrary to expectations, first two days have passed off smoothly. Around 99 per cent students of class 10 and 94 percent of class 12 appeared in their examinations across Kashmir valley.
According to figures provided by the Directorate of School Education (DSEK) Kashmir, 558 centres were allotted for the exams which were held amid tight security arrangements. A total of 55500 students appeared in the examination while 777 remained absent. The percentage of students who appeared in the test was 98.61, they said.
Similarly in case of class 12, around 30213 students appeared out of total 31964 in Kashmir. In Srinagar, 5617 appeared out of a total of 5861 students. Government has set up 484 centres. They have been categorized as sensitive and hypersensitive as per their location.
Anantnag district, the hub of the current upsurge, witnessed highest participation of 96 percent of students followed by 95 percent in Srinagar district.
In view of the troubled situation, a predominant majority of the students were accompanied by their parents to the examination centre. With thousands of students driving to the exam centres, the movement of traffic on the roads substantially increased in defiance of the separatist shutdown call. The student turnout has buoyed the Government. It is the first major victory of the state government against the separatist groups in four months.
Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar termed the turnout in board exams as a “powerful surgical strike”.
“I’m proud of those children and their parents who are the strength of India. Education is the way to progress. They have understood and given this befitting reply. We have seen the surgical strike of the army, but this reply given by students is also a powerful surgical strike,” Javadekar said.
However, state government has refrained from making a comment, lest it further politicize the exercise and lead to difficulties in the conduct of the examination.
“We are happy with the outcome. It is the triumph of the education and not that of the government. We want our children to excel in their careers,” said a PDP leader. “We don’t want to say anything that runs into an avoidable controversy”.