At least two government schools were burnt down on Sunday by unidentified persons ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in the volatile districts of Shopian and Pulwama in south Kashmir. The fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections were held in the districts on Monday.
According to education department officials in Pulwama, the primary section block of Government High School in Kasabyar was completely burnt. “Three rooms of the primary department were completely damaged. But those three rooms housed some of the important infrastructure of the school including a library and laboratory,” said Chief Education Officer Pulwama Nasim ul Gani told Scroll.in.
Despite one section of the school getting damaged in the fire, eight polling booths were established there. “The fire started around 9 pm on Sunday when the polling staff had to reach there...Locals helped in dousing the fire and thus other rooms of the school were saved,” Gani said.
Gani also added that nearly half a dozen schools in Pulwama have suffered minor damages due to stone-pelting.
In the neighbouring Shopian district, an upper primary school in Dompora was torched on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday. “The fire completely destroyed three rooms of the school in Keegam zone of the district,” Chief Education Officer (Shopian) Mohammad Mushtaq told Scroll.in. “We had reports that another school has been damaged but fortunately it was saved.”
Authorities had set up 695 polling booths in Shopian and Pulwama. At sensitive places, the authorities had clubbed together various polling booths in a single building.
In the polls that concluded on Monday, Pulwama and Shopian witnessed a dismal polling of 2.14% and 2.88%.