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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