Kulgam, July 25: Situated within a forest area, a Government Middle School in a remote Kulgam village is without fencing.
Middle School Gujjar Nad Dardgund in the Devsar zone of the Kulgam district was established in the year 1989, the school lies within the forest area and the wild animals are often seen roaming in the area.
Locals fear that since the area sees frequent presence of wild animals, the lives of the students studying at the school are at risk.
Gulzar Ahmad, a local, told Rising Kashmir that mostly leopards, bears and other wild animals roam in the area and pose a big threat to their lives.
“We don’t want any human-animal conflict. Our kids are studying in a building that has no borders. And because it is a foreste area, wild animals may cause harm to lives of our kids,” he added.
A group of students said that their every day’s journey to and fro from the school is filled with risks.
“We have to walk in groups for our safety at all times since the wild animals are always on the prowl and there is every chance of any wild animal pouncing on us. In the absence of a boundary wall, there is no surety of us being safe within the school as well. There have been instances when the bears and leopards ventured inside the homes and cowsheds of the locals in our area,” said a group of students.
The school was upgraded to middle school in 2009; however, it functions in just three rooms that also include a staff room. 51 students are enrolled in this middle school for the current academic year.
A teacher, who wished to remain anonymous, said that during the Covid-19 crises a bear appeared in the schoolyard as they were holding community classes. “All of us were terrified. Not once, but a few times it has happened here. Fortunately, the wild animals did not harm then but risk still persists.”
With a fence in place, wild animals can't harm our students and us, the teacher said.
An official in the education department said the issue of the fencing of the school has been proposed and will be projected in the coming time. “There are other institutions too that lack walling, we have already taken note of it and will be taken care of,” he said.