J&K shuts down coaching centres over Kathua protests

College principals say police disrupt peaceful protests

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Following widespread student protests in the state, Jammu and Kashmir Education Minister Syed Altaf Bukhari has ordered shutting down of coaching and tuition centres catering to students up to class XII for a period of three months.

He said the government should take all stakeholders on board and then frame a policy.�.

Strife-torn Kashmir is witnessing student upheaval over the rape and murder of an eight-year-old tribal nomad girl. Dozens of students were injured.

The agitation on the streets is a repeat of the situation in April past year when students took to the streets in nearly all parts of the Valley and the state government was forced to shut schools for weeks altogether. The decision was taken in an attempt to thwart student protests that have marred the academic session for more than a fortnight now, sources said.

Principals complained police that were using indiscriminate force on peaceful student protests.

"The detained students will be released after counselling", said Senior Superintendent of Police (Baramulla) Imtiyaz Hussain.

He warned that if the present situation continued the state government would be forced to close down educational institutions. In the city, the Amar Singh College and the Women's Collage, MA Road have been closed since the protests started.

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"We found coaching centers are one of the distractions for students".

A senior police official said at least five demonstrations turned violent when students hurled stones at security forces.

"We were discussing distractions of students and as per the feedback received, tuition centers are one of the distractions, so, we chose to close them for 90 days".

Coaching centres, meanwhile, have reacted sharply to the government diktat and chose to take legal recourse and approach the high court against the order.

Bukhari said the order would have no bearing on coaching centres which provide coaching for professional courses to students who have passed the class 12 examination. Please take care of students at the family level also and they should not get an impression that they are unwanted rather they should get the feeling that they are very special.

The education minister was joined by senior PDP leader and public works minister, Naeem Akhtar, who also appealed the students to resume classes and stop protesting, saying such acts "hurt the image and interests" of Jammu and Kashmir state.

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