After Government of India banned Jama’at-e-Islami in Jammu and Kashmir, over 200 alumni of its schools run under Falah-e-Aam Trust, who are currently studying and working in different countries across the world, have come together to ask the government for revocation of its orders. Here is the open letter written by these alumni.
We, the alumni of Jama’at-e-Islami run schools known as Falah-e-Aam Trust (FAT) working across the world and in the institutions of State of Jammu and Kashmir are shocked to read the news reports suggesting that the Government is imposing ban and closure on the schools run by Falah-e-Aam Trust. The statement of Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, Advisor to Governor, J&K, saying that there will be no random ban on Jamaat-e-Islami run schools fails to clear the Government’s intent.
Therefore, we feel compelled to write to the Government of India and the Government of Jammu and Kashmir via print media that Falah-e-Aam Trust (FAT) is a registered trust (Govt. Regd. vide no. 159/s; dated 31 July 1972) that runs as per the constitution duly submitted to the State. The objectives of the FAT as stated in article 3 of its constitution include providing assistance to poor and needy without discrimination of religion, color and creed; help in the education of the poor and needy students; open education institutions to educate all without any discrimination, and to assist other organizations in their humanitarian efforts. Falah-e-Aam Trust (FAT) is non-political in nature and is dedicated to education and service in Jammu and Kashmir, as reflects the article 4 of the FAT constitution. After Sheikh Abdullah in 1971 banned any political party to run the schools; these schools were detached from the Jamaat-e-Islami organization so as to remain apolitical, charitable and social welfare organization under FAT. Presently, Falah-E-Aam Trust runs over 350 schools across the state of Jammu and Kashmir, with an enrolment of over 1,00,000 students and 10,000 staff members.
We have been educated in the schools of Falah-e-Aam Trust and we are witness to its struggle for educating the weaker sections of the society and its efforts to uplift the society in a peaceful and constructive manner. No schools run by FAT have ever taught us to breach the law or engage in anti-social activities. FAT schools have created lakhs of civilized citizens holding almost every office in the J&K State. From legislators to jurists, and from doctors, engineers, teachers, administrative officers to multi-rung office-bearers in the state, FAT has made its students earn influential positions in running the government. FAT-school pass outs have a massive contribution in good governance in Jammu and Kashmir.
These schools have greatly elevated the literacy rate in the state and contributed to economic development and per-capita growth. We are a witness that these schools teach syllabus as prescribed by the Board of School Education and follow all the rules of government. Closure of schools associated with the FAT will not only challenge the right to good education of tens of thousands in J&K, but it will also lead to massive tensions on the ground. It is lethal for a government to ban institutions for a political agenda. Education must not be made causality for political vendetta. Earlier, Governor Jagmohan Singh banned and closed down all the schools run by FAT in 1990 and it was the Honourable Supreme Court of India that rejected the ban as illegal and unfounded. Any ban on FAT schools, by the Government today would not only be illegal but would have immense ramifications on the thoughts and minds of millions in the state. If the government is failing to deal with Kashmir politically, it must not ban schools in anger and desperation.
We, the alumni of the FAT schools, hereby urge the Government of India and the Officials of the state under Presidential rule to avoid any ban and closure of the FAT schools. In case, the government of the day imposes the ban, it would plainly mean that the current dispensation wants the destruction of the already ailing education system in Kashmir. The sealing of schools belonging to FAT will jeopardize the career of thousands and render many jobless. It would be a clear message to Kashmir that India cares little about Kashmir’s education and upliftment. The ban would compel many to remain ignorant, unskilled and unemployed. We hope that our voices are heard and FAT schools are allowed to run smoothly without undue state interference. We will resist any ban on FAT schools through legal and democratic means. We will not allow generations to lose their right to good education.
Note: This letter has been reproduced verbatim.