The police in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday said that three teachers of a religious school in Shopian district were arrested under the Public Safety Act after its students and alumni were allegedly found involved in militant activities, PTI reported. The law allows local authorities to detain individuals deemed a threat to public order for up to one year and those seen as a threat to national security for up to two years without trial and with no formal charges.

The police also accused the teachers of spreading hatred while teaching. At a press conference, Kashmir Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar said the school named Siraj-uloom Imam Sahib is affiliated with the banned Jamaat-e-Islami outfit.

The religious school came under the scanner of investigating agencies after 13 of its students were found to have joined terror groups. According to PTI, the institution’s alumni include Sajjad Bhat, an accused in the February 2019 Pulwama terror attack, in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed.

“It is not that this school has not been under observation,” Kumar said. “We have already booked three teachers of the school namely Abdul Ahad Bhat, Rouf Bhat and Mohammad Yusuf Wani under the PSA.”

The inspector general added that about half a dozen other teachers of the school were under surveillance. “Conduct of five to six teachers of the school are under surveillance under Section 107 of Code of Criminal Procedure,” Kumar said. “Basically, the affiliation of the school is with JeI. It is under surveillance, and right now we are taking action against individuals and if need arises, we will take action against the school.”

‘Baseless allegations’

Muhammad Yousuf Matoo, chairperson of the school, refuted the allegations as baseless, Srinagar-based local newsagency Kashmir News Service reported. “Some of the students who had become militants had already left us and were home for a longer period before joining the militant ranks,” Matoo said.

He added that none of the teachers, which the police claim were arrested, “have been our teachers”. “We are open to answer every question to any media group,” he added. “They can come and check our teaching and other affairs here. We are registered with income tax department.”

Officials said the school mainly enrolled students from Kulgam, Pulwama and Anantnag districts of South Kashmir, considered by intelligence agencies to be the hotbeds of militancy and breeding grounds for local recruits in various terror outfits.