Jammu: For the girls
of Mahore in Jammu and Kashmir's Reasi district where militants
used to have a free run, it is time to realise their dreams
Till a few years ago, they stayed at home on diktats by militants
against girls going to school.
"Now the girls are coming out unhesitatingly in large numbers, not
only to attend school but also to take part in other activities,"
a state education department official, who did not want to be
named, told IANS.
Mahore was a sort of liberated zone for militants where their laws
As a result, education was a casualty since teachers feared going
to schools and parents too were hesitant to send in their
"Like many other far-off areas in Jammu, in Mahore too there was a
sharp drop in girls attending schools," the official said.
There was a time in the 1990s when hardly any girls went to
government schools, he said.
Now with militancy fading from Mahore, the scenario is changing.
"The attendance of girls is going up in schools in the area; in
some places, it is more than boys," the official said.
"Girls are attending most of the programmes which the army is
conducting under Operation Sadbhavna. These include employment
camps, vocational training courses and lectures," said an army
He said the girls from areas around Mahore such as Arbais, Badder,
Bagankote, Bagodass, Banna-A and Banna-B also participate in these
The army recently held a series of lectures for girl students of
Class 10, 11 and 12 on job opportunities, higher education,
self-help schemes and health and hygiene.
"There was tremendous enthusiasm amongst these girls who are now
ready to shed the fears of terrorism and progress along with
developing India. They are now keen to venture out and earn a
niche for themselves in various fields," he said.
"I was not aware that women in India have made such progress in
the last decade or so. Neither was I aware of the educational
opportunities that I can venture into, after completing my class
12," Nafisa Akhtar, a Class 11 student from Mahore, told IANS on
the phone, after attending the army programmes.
She said she aimed to be a teacher.
Fahmida Khan's father was killed by militants in 1998 in the
village of Bagankote. She was four then, the youngest of five
siblings. The family then moved to Mahore.
"I have come to know through these camps that I too can join
police or army. I have made up my mind to join either and fight
social evils and militancy," the Class 10 student of a government
(Binoo Joshi can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)