The Jammu and Kashmir government late on Sunday clarified that Jamaat-e-Islami’ affiliated schools, mosques and orphanages have been kept outside the purview of the ban on the organisation.
“#JeI Ban# J&K Government Spokesman, Rohit Kansal @kansalrohit69 clarifies: Schools, mosques & orphanages so far kept outside the scope of seizure,” said a tweet by department of information and public relations, Govt of Jammu & Kashmir.
Almost all regional mainstream parties had expressed outrage after Centre on Thursday banned the Jamaat-e-Islami in Jammu and Kashmir for five years on grounds that it was “in close touch” with militant outfits and was expected to “escalate secessionist movement” in the state.
National Conference (NC), Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and Peoples Conference (PC) have demanded revocation of the ban and also expressed concern over the fate of schools run by the JeI.
“While the government may take some time to review the need to ban JeI, there is a need to urgently review the ban on schools and the sealing of mosques,” tweeted former chief minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday.
“There is nothing to suggest sealing mosques will improve the security environment. Sealing schools risks forcing so many young kids out on the streets rather than studying to make a future for themselves,” he said.
“People are being turned away from mosques where they usually congregate for prayers. Schools with 10’s of 1000’s of students, employing 1000s of teachers are being sealed,” he said.
There is anxiety among thousands of parents and students of hundreds of JeI-run schools as they fear the administration may seal educational institutes as well. According to an unofficial estimate, around 100,000 students are studying in 300 schools run by the JeI.
On Saturday, PDP leaders and activists took out a protest march against the ban in Srinagar. The protest came as authorities in Kashmir started sealing properties of JeI and residences of some of its activists. Bank accounts of JeI leaders have also been frozen.
“These schools have been providing education to the poorest of the poor and they have been getting positions. They are meritorious students. Where will these kids go? The government is playing with their future. This is very bad,” said PDP leader and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti.