Srinagar (JK)[India], Oct. 30: National Conference Working President and Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday expressed disappointment and grief over the recent incidents of schools being burnt down in various parts of the Valley, asserting that it was an abhorrent ploy to destroy the future of the children.
In a statement issued from Party Headquarters today, Abdullah said the administration is responsible for protecting the education infrastructure in the State and should take the sternest possible action against those elements that are found guilty of such incidents of arson.
Abdullah also said the Hurriyat leadership should realize the costs of its reluctance and delay to condemn such behavior unequivocally.
"Our schools hold the key to the self-reliance, dignity and empowerment of our future generation. An assault on our schools is an assault on our children, their future and their dreams. These are clear, unambiguous attempts to rob our children of education and intellectual growth and there can be no doubt that these elements who attack our schools are the enemies of our children and the enemies of enlightenment", Omar Abdullah said in a statement issued from Srinagar.
The NC Working President said both the Administration and the Hurriyat leadership were responsible for failing to speak up and act in time to prevent such incidents.
"You cannot aspire for the moral lecterns of self-righteous leadership without having the courage of your conviction to call a spade a spade.
Persecuting your own people cannot be portrayed or disguised as alleged resistance based on a political cause.
Robbing our children of their classrooms and of the prospects of academic growth is the greatest act of tyranny and oppression", Abdullah said in the statement.
"We hope the State Government gets its act together and rises to the occasion to protect our schools. Every new, tragic and saddening news of a gutted school is a verdict on the incompetence and inaction of the State Government.
We also hope Hurriyat leaders gather the courage to say the right thing at the right time and don't allow the street to dictate their agenda and their sense of right and wrong.
Schools are centers of learning and enlightenment and an attack on our schools is an attack on our collective dignity and self-respect and will not be tolerated at any cost", Abdullah added.
Another school was set ablaze in South Kashmir's Anantnag district today by unknown arsonists. Reports said that Government Higher Secondary School, Kabamarg building was damaged in the inferno. So far, over 20 schools have been burnt down in the last two months with the unrest in the Valley having prolonged for more than three months now, majority of them government-run, suffering irreparable damage.
The attacks have soared after the state government decided to go ahead with the Class 10 and Class 12 Board exams, scheduled next month, despite calls by students, parents for delaying them due to the ongoing agitation.