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Aren't Kashmiris have the right to live peacefully and study?


Since the boundaries of separation were set in 1947, Kashmir has been the focal point of hostility between India and Pakistan. Between the two countries, there have historically been four wars: 1947–1948, 1965, 1971, and 1999. The most recent of them resulted in the deaths of almost 30,000 troops and civilians. Aside from these battles, there has always been a low-level struggle between the two nuclear powers, with skirmishes occurring often.

Using explosive weapons in populated areas, such as villages, schools, hospitals, and residential areas, has resulted in the majority (88%) civilian deaths. In Kashmir, populous places have been attacked with explosive weapons 84 percent of the victims have been civilians.

The explosive violence has caused severe damage to crucial civilian infrastructure in addition to the immediate impact. Additionally, the terror and damage generated have really influenced civilian life, especially for kids.

Damage to schools

Both India and Pakistan's educational systems have been severely disrupted by shelling along the control line. One hundred twenty public schools were forced to close in 2014 due to severe bombardment by Indian forces on the border villages in the Charwar sector of Sialkot, which also increased local residents' anxiety and stress. Nearly 300 schools were shut down in 2016 due to ongoing instability in Indian communities within 2.5 kilometers of the border in the Jammu, Samba, and Kathua districts. The directive was given after Pakistani soldiers shelled the region heavily, killing 14 civilians.

On November 12, 2016, Indian soldiers fired mortars into the Nakyal and Battal areas of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, completely destroying hundreds of homes and schools (AJK). As a result, 25 girls' schools and 34 boys' schools in the Nakyal sector were immediately closed. On December 16, 2016, a school van was hit by shelling, killing the driver and wounding eight children. A Poonch school building sustained significant damage due to Pakistani shelling on July 25, 2017. The week before, 25 schools closed due to ceasefire violations.

In many places, the ongoing use of violence or the fear of it has contributed to mental health issues and impeded intellectual and physical progress. This is worsened by a lack of safe spaces for children.

Conclusion:

"Conflict situations invariably take a toll on education: through physical destruction/damage to education facilities; loss of teaching staff (e.g., because they are victims of conflict, out of fear, breakdown of service delivery structures); physical and psychological trauma experienced by students; and the general challenges involved in trying to carry on a 'normal' life with the ever-present threat of violence. For young people, being denied educational chances typically means being denied a future, which worsens conflict's impacts."- Ifat Idris (Former Capacity Development Specialist for the Asian Development Bank)

Recommendations:

All children, especially those living in conflict zones, need to feel comfortable at school and have access to a safe education. In addition to teaching, schools in these places should offer residents normality, stability, and safety, enabling kids to better deal with the broader harm that the area experiences.

Along with de-escalating the conflict and outlawing the mortar used, maintaining safe access to education should be a top goal for both governments. In addition to endorsing the Secure Schools Declaration, which seeks to safeguard schools and children during times of war, India and Pakistan should pledge to keep such regions safe.

India and Pakistan should refrain from employing untargeted explosive weapons and those with widespread effects in places where civilians are likely to be among the victims, such as close to schools, as part of their efforts. This will allow kids to return to their studies and ensure that the schools are safe. It can be done by considerably reducing the adverse effects of such violence on schools and education.

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Thank you for writing such a thoroughly informative blog. I especially liked your conclusion and recommendations. While de-escalation of conflicts is always the primary objective if any sense of normality is to emerge, the protective role of schools can also be ensured through other collaborative agreements, which doesn't take away from their importance. We even see this in examples of contexts of the Pakistani contexts. I remember one of my best friends from Wana, who completed his primary education from there, tell me about how schools were created in mutually acceptable safezones, which was why although they were very close to the action, they still served as protected places. This is also why they were used as zones to provide…

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Sharing a case study here for more clarification: Sixth-grade student Mohammad Hamza, 12, said, he was preparing for a class test originally scheduled for Aug. 5 of last year, when the government ordered the closure of all educational institutions. No reason was given. Young Hamza did not understand what was happening around him as he was engrossed in solving mathematical problems. "The chaos and uncertainty soon gripped me. I saw for the first time my mother was not interested in my class tests, but my safety," he told Anadolu Agency (AA). I hope thins will help you out to understand the situation.

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"It is said that you may recoup lost money but not lost time." Great line Almeera. I wanted to highlight that between 2019-2020 Nearly 1.2 million Kashmiri students were revoked by Indian Government from attending classes for seven months. Following the controversial move, authorities on two occasions announced the reopening of schools in March 2020. But students stayed away amid the ongoing restrictions and concerns among parents about the children's safety. Parents were confused weather it would be safe or not? This lost of time here affect the student's capabilities of learning and assurance of safety of their parents.

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Kashmir has been an area of Pakistan which has been deprived of their fundamental human rights for far too long now. The struggles that the area faces is unimaginable especially in the context of educational systems. You have highlighted how children are being deprived of education due to the bombardment. This can be very traumatic and cause great distress for children to go through this for as long as they can remember. As you mentioned in the recommendations, to what extent do you think schools would be able to offer residents normality? Especially given the on-going hostilities and bombing.

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Additionally, as part of their policies, the armed forces of India and Pakistan should avoid from using untargeted explosive weapons and those with widespread effects in areas where people are likely to be among the casualties, such as near to schools. By significantly minimizing the negative impacts of such violence on schools and education, it is possible to achieve this and restore normalcy.

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You've brought up an important topic that has been debated for decades, yet nothing exceptional has been done for Kashmiris. And the decades of conflict in Kashmir have resulted in numerous school closures, school assaults, and student assaults. Military confrontations forced the closure of many schools. These closures have a direct impact on the educational quality of the area. It is said that you may recoup lost money but not lost time. That is precisely what the Kashmiri children are experiencing. Education not only provides us with information about the world, but it also shapes our outlook on life. It contributes to the formation of our perspective of view. Thus, the governments of both countries should look into the precarious…

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