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J&K Admin Bans Jamaat Linked Falah-e-Aam Trust Schools

Anees Zargar |
The ban comes more than three years after the Jamaat-e-Islaami J&K was banned in 2019 by the Ministry of Home Affairs, citing reasons that the organisation aided militancy in Kashmir.

Srinagar: Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir have banned schools run by Falah-e-Aam Trust (FAT), which are affiliated with the banned socio-religious group Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) J&K, officials said.

The UT administration, in an order issued by BK Singh, principal secretary to the government School education department, has directed Chief Education Officers (CEOs) to seal all FAT institutions in consultation with district administration within the next 15 days.

“All the students presently studying in these banned institutions shall admit themselves to nearby Government schools for the current academic session, i.e. 2021-22. All CEOs/Principals/ZEOs shall facilitate the admission of these students," the order stated.

The official also said that no new admission should be taken to these "banned" FAT institutions, and no further registration of these schools will be done from now onwards.

The ban comes more than three years after JeI J&K was banned in 2019 by the Ministry of Home Affairs, citing reasons that the organisation aided militancy in Kashmir. The ban on FAT schools, however, comes in the wake of the previous ban on JeI on May 11, 1990, at the peak of insurgency in the region.

At the time, around 11,000 students were enrolled in these schools and were allowed admission to nearby government schools.\

“Whereas, in spite of the ban on Falah-i-Aam Trust Association/Organisation, the said Association/Organisation are running these institutions illegally in the pretext of order of the Hon'ble High Court," the order read.

Falah-e-Aam, Urdu for common-weal, was set up by the JeI in 1972 as a "non-political" organisation to work for "education and service to mankind". The schools, which followed the NCERT syllabus, provided an impetus to the field of education, especially in the rural areas of Kashmir.

There are over 300 FAT schools, including 16 in the Jammu division, which employs hundreds of teaching and non-teaching staff. In 2014, over 75,000 students were enrolled in these schools, which were mostly run by the mohalla and village management committees after the 1990 ban and subsequent cases in the court.

The Chairman of FAT Jammu and Kashmir Showkat Ahmad War, in a statement shared via a messaging app, said only 18 schools remained affiliated with the trust after the 1990 ban; however, out of them, only seven schools continued their affiliation with the trust following further disaffiliation

These schools, War said, provide education to their students according to the government-approved and J&K board-recommended syllabi and "nothing objectionable" is taught in these institutions, which can attract any punitive action at all.

Demanding its revocation, War said it was “amazed” at the order, which he called “unjustified and unconstitutional”, issued by the board.

“This is a baseless allegation that the Trust is an affiliate of the banned organisation of Jamaat-Islami, J&K. It has been time and again made amply clear that the Trust is an independent government recognised and registered non-political entity having no affiliation with any political or religious organisations," War said.

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