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Over 300 schools run by Falah-e-Aam Trust to be shut in J&K

Students of the Jamaat-e-Islami affiliated organisation’s schools to be absorbed in nearby government schools, but no word on future of teaching and non-teaching staff

Sabrangindia 17 Jun 2022

Kashmir
Image courtesy: kashmirpulse.com

Two days ago, Jammu and Kashmir Principal Secretary (Education) BK Singh passed an order that will effectively shut down over 300 schools run by the Falah-e-Aam Trust (FAT) that is affiliated to the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), an organization that was banned for five years in 2019. However, there is no information so far on what would happen to the teaching and non-teaching staff of the schools.

Why were the schools shut down?

India Today reports that the decision was taken due to two key reasons – unknown source of foreign funding, and alleged “jihadi literature” being part of the curriculum. Times of India, meanwhile, reports that a Special Investigation Agency (SIA) has found that the schools are radicalising youth. However, Deccan Herald reported that the reason for the ban was fraud and large-scale encroachment of government land. The publication quoted a SIA investigation report: “Almost all the FAT schools, numbering in hundreds, have been found to be existing on illegally acquired government and community lands wherein lands were occupied by coercion, at gunpoint as well as colluding with revenue officials who made wrong entries in revenue documents by committing fraud and forgery.”

What does the order say?

The Indian Express quoted an excerpt from the order: “The Jammu and Kashmir government had banned the Falah-e-Aam Trust on May 11, 1990, and also vide communication dated 23-10-2019. All students currently studying in these banned institutions shall admit themselves to nearby government schools for current academic session. All CEOs/Principals/ZEOs shall facilitate the admission of these students.”

Thus, education department officials such as Chief Education Officers and Zonal Educational Officers have been made responsible for ensuring that the fate of students does not get stuck in limbo. However, there is no word on what this would mean for the teaching and non-teaching staff members. The order also prohibits new admissions to these schools and no further registration of such schools. Education officers have been asked to seal the premises of such schools within 15 days.

Poor planning, worse execution

An important point to be considered is how government schools are often overburdened, understaffed and lack basic resources. While some publications place the number of displaced students at 11,000, some others say the number could be as high as 1 lakh. That means anywhere between 30 to 300 children from each FAT school would be looking for a new school. Therefore, wouldn’t this sudden ban be adding yet another burden on an overstretched system? Also, given how the JeI was banned in February 2019, could this shut down of schools not have been planned better?

Jamaat-e-Islami banned in Feb 2019

Readers would recall that the Jamaat-e-Islami was banned for five years in February 2019 for alleged support to terror and secessionist activities. This was just a fortnight after the Pulwama attack where terrorists ambushed a convoy of security personnel on February 14 killing 40 CRPF personnel. On the intervening night between February 22 and 23, police carried out raids against JeI cadres and arrested 100 members including JeI chief Abdul Hamid Fayad and spokesperson Zahid Ali.

The J&K administration banned JeI on February 28 that year. This order was confirmed by a tribunal headed by Justice Chander Shekhar, a Delhi High Court judge in September 2019. According to a report in the Economic Times, the tribunal had found that “the activities of the respondent association, its office bearers and members have been disruptive in character, which threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India. They have been acting in collusion with other similar organisations in India as well as in other countries against their stated objectives in their constitution.” It had therefore concluded, “The central government had sufficient credible material and grounds for taking action under sub-Sections (1) & (3) of Section 3 of the [Unlawful Activities (Prevention)] Act for declaring 'JeI' as an 'Unlawful Association'. Accordingly, it is held that there is "sufficient cause" to confirm the notification under sub-Section (3) of Section 4 of the Act declaring 'JeI' to be an "Unlawful Association".”  

Falah-e-Aam Trust

The FAT, that was set up by JeI in 1972, was also previously banned (May 11, 1990) along with the JeI in 1990 under Section 3 of the Jammu and Kashmir Criminal Law Amendment Act (1983), reports the Indian Express saying that ban was for two years, although the latest ban will be active for five years under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Interestingly, when JeI was banned in February 2019, police and magistrates had issued notices to schools run FAT asking them to close down. However, later, the government issued a clarification that these schools would not be shut, reported Deccan Herald.

Related:

Minority Kashmiri Hindus fear “something fishy” in South Kashmir
TRF exhorts Kashmiri Muslims to take up arms, kill officials and act against informers
14 Kashmiri Pandits, Hindus killed in Kashmir Valley after Article 370 removed: MHA
J&K admin terminates gov't employees in interest of “security of the state”
Citizens Condemn Pulwama Terror Attack, Appeal for Unity
Watch: Eminent citizens speak on the 2019 elections and the challenges before us
Want to honour Pulwama Heroes? Demand Justice, Not Revenge
India's CRPF Responds with Dignity and Caution
Pulwama Attack: Curfew in Jammu amid violent protests

Over 300 schools run by Falah-e-Aam Trust to be shut in J&K

Students of the Jamaat-e-Islami affiliated organisation’s schools to be absorbed in nearby government schools, but no word on future of teaching and non-teaching staff

Kashmir
Image courtesy: kashmirpulse.com

Two days ago, Jammu and Kashmir Principal Secretary (Education) BK Singh passed an order that will effectively shut down over 300 schools run by the Falah-e-Aam Trust (FAT) that is affiliated to the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), an organization that was banned for five years in 2019. However, there is no information so far on what would happen to the teaching and non-teaching staff of the schools.

Why were the schools shut down?

India Today reports that the decision was taken due to two key reasons – unknown source of foreign funding, and alleged “jihadi literature” being part of the curriculum. Times of India, meanwhile, reports that a Special Investigation Agency (SIA) has found that the schools are radicalising youth. However, Deccan Herald reported that the reason for the ban was fraud and large-scale encroachment of government land. The publication quoted a SIA investigation report: “Almost all the FAT schools, numbering in hundreds, have been found to be existing on illegally acquired government and community lands wherein lands were occupied by coercion, at gunpoint as well as colluding with revenue officials who made wrong entries in revenue documents by committing fraud and forgery.”

What does the order say?

The Indian Express quoted an excerpt from the order: “The Jammu and Kashmir government had banned the Falah-e-Aam Trust on May 11, 1990, and also vide communication dated 23-10-2019. All students currently studying in these banned institutions shall admit themselves to nearby government schools for current academic session. All CEOs/Principals/ZEOs shall facilitate the admission of these students.”

Thus, education department officials such as Chief Education Officers and Zonal Educational Officers have been made responsible for ensuring that the fate of students does not get stuck in limbo. However, there is no word on what this would mean for the teaching and non-teaching staff members. The order also prohibits new admissions to these schools and no further registration of such schools. Education officers have been asked to seal the premises of such schools within 15 days.

Poor planning, worse execution

An important point to be considered is how government schools are often overburdened, understaffed and lack basic resources. While some publications place the number of displaced students at 11,000, some others say the number could be as high as 1 lakh. That means anywhere between 30 to 300 children from each FAT school would be looking for a new school. Therefore, wouldn’t this sudden ban be adding yet another burden on an overstretched system? Also, given how the JeI was banned in February 2019, could this shut down of schools not have been planned better?

Jamaat-e-Islami banned in Feb 2019

Readers would recall that the Jamaat-e-Islami was banned for five years in February 2019 for alleged support to terror and secessionist activities. This was just a fortnight after the Pulwama attack where terrorists ambushed a convoy of security personnel on February 14 killing 40 CRPF personnel. On the intervening night between February 22 and 23, police carried out raids against JeI cadres and arrested 100 members including JeI chief Abdul Hamid Fayad and spokesperson Zahid Ali.

The J&K administration banned JeI on February 28 that year. This order was confirmed by a tribunal headed by Justice Chander Shekhar, a Delhi High Court judge in September 2019. According to a report in the Economic Times, the tribunal had found that “the activities of the respondent association, its office bearers and members have been disruptive in character, which threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India. They have been acting in collusion with other similar organisations in India as well as in other countries against their stated objectives in their constitution.” It had therefore concluded, “The central government had sufficient credible material and grounds for taking action under sub-Sections (1) & (3) of Section 3 of the [Unlawful Activities (Prevention)] Act for declaring 'JeI' as an 'Unlawful Association'. Accordingly, it is held that there is "sufficient cause" to confirm the notification under sub-Section (3) of Section 4 of the Act declaring 'JeI' to be an "Unlawful Association".”  

Falah-e-Aam Trust

The FAT, that was set up by JeI in 1972, was also previously banned (May 11, 1990) along with the JeI in 1990 under Section 3 of the Jammu and Kashmir Criminal Law Amendment Act (1983), reports the Indian Express saying that ban was for two years, although the latest ban will be active for five years under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Interestingly, when JeI was banned in February 2019, police and magistrates had issued notices to schools run FAT asking them to close down. However, later, the government issued a clarification that these schools would not be shut, reported Deccan Herald.

Related:

Minority Kashmiri Hindus fear “something fishy” in South Kashmir
TRF exhorts Kashmiri Muslims to take up arms, kill officials and act against informers
14 Kashmiri Pandits, Hindus killed in Kashmir Valley after Article 370 removed: MHA
J&K admin terminates gov't employees in interest of “security of the state”
Citizens Condemn Pulwama Terror Attack, Appeal for Unity
Watch: Eminent citizens speak on the 2019 elections and the challenges before us
Want to honour Pulwama Heroes? Demand Justice, Not Revenge
India's CRPF Responds with Dignity and Caution
Pulwama Attack: Curfew in Jammu amid violent protests

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