Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir’s education minister, Syed Altaf Bukhari, on Saturday asked the Army to not "meddle" with what is not its domain and give sermons to the state on how to run its education system.
"Army should concentrate on their job and not interfere in education sector. Education is in the domain of the State and we know how to run it. We don’t want any sermons from them,” he said while speaking to reporters here.
He also said, “I would be glad to see them (Army) doing what they are supposed to do and leave us to do what we are supposed to do. Our Chief Minister is capable enough to take decisions regarding the improvement of education department.”
Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had on Friday while addressing a press conference in New Delhi on the eve of the Army Day said that the social media and government schools in Jammu and Kashmir are spreading a “disinformation campaign” resulting in radicalisation of youth and called for “some control” over mosques and madrasas in the restive State.
He had also said a “major revamp” of the education system was needed in the State to deal with the problem.
The Army Chief had further said that each classroom in government schools in J&K has a separate map of the State besides that of India which sowed the seeds of thought of some kind of “separate identity” among the children.
“If you go to any Kashmir school, you will find two maps - one is the map of India and one is the map of Jammu and Kashmir. There are always two maps in every classroom. Why should there be a map of Jammu and Kashmir. If you are putting a map of Jammu and Kashmir, then you may as well put map of every state. What does it mean to children that I am part of the country but I also have a separate identity?” he said.
Bukhari reacting to it, said that the Army instead of meddling with the education sector of the State should concentrate on own assignment.
“Army should concentrate on their job and not interfere in education sector,” he said.
He said that everyone including those not knowing anything about education was passing comments on education sector which was not acceptable.
“Even those who don’t have domain in education sector issue comments on education. It is the job of concerned people, those from the education sector itself, to deal with issues because they alone know how to run it," he added.
Taking a dig at the Army Chief, he said, “Perhaps the people who are giving comments on how we should run education sector are not doing their job properly and that's why we are suffering.”
Bukhari, however, also said, “The Army Chief is a well-respected and decorated officer, a professional and I have no doubt about his professionalism. But I don’t think he is an educationist that he will give sermons on education. I don’t think my society accepts these sermons on education from non-educationists. But I will welcome the sermons from educationist on how to run the education system".
CPIM state secretary and MLA Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami expressed surprise over Gen. Rawat’s statement and sought to remind him that there are also two flags “because J&K has its own constitution owing to its special status”.
He said in a statement issued in Jammu that J&K acceded to India on the guarantees provided by the Constitution under article 370.
“This is because that Kashmir has unique history, ethos and identity”, he said.
Reacting to the Army Chief’s assertion that most “misguided youth” come from schools where they are being radicalised, he said, “J&K having separate constitution is not because of any religious reasons, but it is because of historically evolved cultural identity (sic)”.
He further said, “The government of India, which initially recognised the special status for J&K, could not maintain this position. The reality is that from holding special status, Jammu and Kashmir now has been deprived of the rights and powers which other states enjoy. Eroding J&K’s special position is the reason for rise of uncertainty in J&K and also gives an opportunity to others to fish in the troubled waters”.