The right to education is a basic human right deemed indispensable for the exercise of other human rights. It has been duly recognised as an inalienable human right in a number of international conventions, including the Universal Declaration for Human Rights (UDHR), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and other world treaties.
Sadly, the children in the Indian held territory of Jammu and Kashmir are unable to materialize this fundamental human right as education remains to be one of the hidden casualties of the long-drawn conflict. On one hand the unending conflict has had devastating impacts on their (children’s) education while on the other the Indian government’s hostile policies towards Kashmir have cast a dark shadow on the future of the Kashmir’s young generation.
Persisting chaos, violence and unrest in J&K has led to constant school closures, whereas, children continued to be the victims of state-sponsored-violence in the held territory. Besides becoming victims of extra-judicial executions, children also faced illegal and unjust detentions, ill-treatment including torture, humiliation and harassment at the hands of Indian occupation forces. After 2019, the region, in particular the Kashmir valley, witnessed an upward trend in the incidents of targeted violence against youth.
Frequent internet shutdowns, curfews and crackdowns and undue restrictions placed on the pretext of maintaining law and order and in the name of so-called “national security” have rendered the education system completely paralyzed in Kashmir region. Post August 5, 2019, all schools, colleges and universities were closed down in the occupied territory while Kashmiri students enrolled in different colleges and universities in India remained prone to all kinds of harassment from Indian forces, right-wing student groups and mob-lynchers aided and abetted by members of the BJP.
The hate crimes against Muslims and rising tide of Islamophobia in India led to a series of violent attacks against the Kashmiris; hhundreds of incidents of attacks on Kashmiri students were reported from different parts of India. Some Kashmiri students were even booked for sedition for posting on social media.