Kashmir

Whistleblower ‘pressurised’ for highlighting ‘absenteeism’ in Kishtwar – The News Caravan

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A whistleblower who has highlighted absenteeism culture in a government school in the Chatroo area of Jammu and Kashmir’s Kishtwar district is reportedly face pressure through the police.

As per details available with The News Caravan, Burhan Dar, 24, a human rights activist from Kishtwar who is locally known for his social work and highlighting public issues, faces huge harassment after he posted a video story on his Facebook page about a government school in the Pehalgowra hamlet of Chatroo tehsil in Kishtwar district. In the video story, students complain that a female teacher has been absent for the past three to four months, and the school has only two staff members for students at the time when video was created.

Noting the issue Dar was seen in the video saying that he was in the school and reported the matter from there and requested administration to take quick action. The video was uploaded on November 19, and it became viral locally.

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Screengrab from video of Burhan Dar while discussing with on duty female teacher

In the video, a female teacher who was on duty in the school told Burhan that she had also reported this issue to the education department. “When I complained about this issue with ZEO (Zonal Education Officer), ZEO sir told me that I shouldn’t have to be a leader,” she said. “Whenever we complain to authorities, we are pressured.”

A student in the video can be seen saying a female teacher appears only for some days in a year. When Dar asked staff about the midday meal, a staff member responded and said that the ration is over from some days.

On November 24, Dar was summoned by the Jammu and Kashmir Police in Chatroo after his video crossed 100k views on Facebook.

The full video of Burhan Dar in which he highlighted the issue of absenteeism in a government school

Human rights activists and journalists who are working in Jammu and Kashmir reportedly face harassment, especially in Kashmir, according to various reports. According to Human Rights Watch report, at least 35 journalists in Kashmir have faced police interrogation, raids, threats, physical assault, restrictions on freedom of movement, or fabricated criminal cases for their reporting since August 2019. 

In the case of Burhan Dar, who raised local issues, the complainer used the police against Dar, as he was summoned by the police just for posting a video in which he highlighted “absenteeism of the teachers.”

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