Fire destroys school building in Kupwara

Can’t be compared with last year’s widespread arson, says an official

SYED RIZWAN GEELANI
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jun 20 2017 12:46AM | Updated Date: Jun 20 2017 12:46AM
Fire destroys school building in KupwaraFile Photo

A government primary school building gutted in a fire last night in Kupwara district. The incident, however, is not being linked to burning of several schools during the uprising last year.

Kupwara chief education officer Muhammad Shafi War aid the double-storey, four-room building of the Boys Primary School in Kalipora village was completely gutted. Some of the official record also perished.

Police have registered an FIR and the students have been shifted to another building of the school.

A top official in the education department, requesting anonymity, said the incident “can’t be compared with those of 2016 when many schools were set on fire throughout Kashmir”.

“We have to look at this incident from every aspect. Even the school staff should be questioned for it,” he said.

The burning of schools had prompted the Jammu and Kashmir High Court in November last year to direct the government to take preventive measures to save school buildings.

The court ordered providing adequate lighting around the schools, equipping schools with fire extinguishers and enhancing wages of contingent paid workers so that they could discharge their duties as chowkidars.

However, the orders were not implemented fully as most of the schools in Kashmir, especially in Kupwara, do not have watchmen or fire extinguishers.

“Most of the schools are functioning in rented accommodation and have no measures of fire control or security.  The government should provide permanent accommodation to school children and then think of other such measures,” the officials said.

In case of Kupwara school, however, the CEO said although the school had a fire extinguisher, no employee was present to douse the fire.

Joint director Elementary Education (EE) in the Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) Mehboob Hussain has sought a detailed report within 24 hours from the CEO concerned about the incident.