Without Internet, helpess Kashmiri students wait for hours to get their result

Srinagar: When Aijaz Ahmad learned about the Class X result, he jumped from his seat and straightaway rushed to the neighboring school only to find that Board of School Education (BOSE) had yet to distribute the Gazettes.

For 50-year old father, it was a big day as his eldest daughter had written matric exam in October last year. After waiting for hours, he frantically called his friends to know the result but to no avail. Disappointed, he left home only to find that his daughter had called up someone in Jammu who accessed the internet for the result.

Welcome to Kashmir, where internet shutdown has completed 110 days. For matric students, it was not less than a nightmare when they were made to wait for hours outside BOSE office in bone chilling cold to know the result. “Had internet been functional, we could have easily accessed our results from home”, said Aijaz.

More than 74.79 percent students were declared successful. Of the 65,393 students that appeared in exam, 33,981 were boys and 31,412 girls. Around 75 percent of boys and 74.55 per cent of girls qualified the test.

In absence of internet, BOSE had to go back to the archaic system of issuing Gazettes so that students could check their results. BOSE had also decided to deliver the results through SMS to overcome the roadblock created by the internet shutdown.

But most of the students particularly in rural and far-flung areas are having prepaid phones, which are not operational since August 5 when Centre revoked Article 370 and downgraded state into two union territories. Only postpaid mobile telephony is operational in Kashmir.

Confusion prevailed throughout the day with people making beeline at BOSE office. Hundreds of students and parents were seen waiting till evening to get the results. Even police was deployed in large numbers as authorities feared that situation may take a worse turn due to huge rush of students and parents at BOSE office.

By evening, BOSE uploaded the result on the internet without realizing that the students cannot access it. Facing flak, officials gave a new twist to whole controversy by claiming that they had not made any formal announcement about the declaration of result.

“We had not made any formal announcement about declaration of results. People came in anticipation of result. Till Friday, Gazettes were made available everywhere, though last evening people came to know by internet and phone. We also sent result through SMS to those students who had the facility available. Our phone lines too were open”, said Riyaz Ahmad, Secretary of BOSE.

He however refused to comment on the internet blackout.

(Image credits: Umar Asif)

Ishfaq Ul Hassan

An accredited journalist with 22 years of professional experience, Ishfaq-Ul-Hassan has worked as a reporter based in Kashmir for two decades. He has covered various beats including militancy, politics, defence, minorities, social issues, religious groups and women issues in Kashmir. He had previously worked as Special Correspondent in Jammu and Kashmir for DNA (Daily News and Analysis) Newspaper for 13 years. Ishfaq is also associated with the New Delhi- based television company `Asia Pacific Communication Associates’ which produced the famous series “Subah-Bakhar-Kashmir” for satellite Kashmir channel of Doordarshan. In 2004, he was awarded the Charkha-Sanjoy Ghosh Fellowship for Peace and Development for his research on families divided across the LOC in Kashmir.

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