Someone is burning down schools in Indian-administered Kashmir, but a group of local teachers is refusing to let students lose out on their education and has organised community-run establishments.
At least 25 schools have been torched over the past few months, while the state has been paralysed by protests as well as by strikes imposed by opposition parties that want independence or to join Pakistan. Many schools have been closed due to civil unrest, while curfews also prevent students from attending classes. Pro-independence leaders have denied responsibilty for the burning of the schools and no one seems to know who is directly behind the campaign.
As students attend these unofficial classes, Kashmir remains as tense as it has been since July when protests erupted after Indian security forces killed a popular rebel leader.
Earlier this month, a funeral for a young man allegedly killed by police turned into a protest. About 30 people were injured when security forces fired teargas canisters and shotgun pellets in an attempt to disperse the crowd, members of which hurled stones back. About 90 people have been killed since July and hundreds blinded by pellets.
(TOP PHOTO: A teacher holds a lesson in a makeshift school in Kashmir. CREDIT: Zulkarnain Dev/IRIN)