Educators in the disputed region are fighting to keep pupils on track amid repeated lockdowns, curfews and internet blackouts
Asmat Jan, 15, practises her singing in a meadow, against a backdrop of Kashmir’s towering mountains. In front of her, around 50 other children squat in perfect, straight lines. A couple of adults hover nearby.
Education has gone open-air across the valley in Indian-administered Kashmir and this is one of the many makeshift community classes that have sprung up in response to the repeated closure of schools under two separate lockdowns, alongside a communication blackout in this hotly disputed territory imposed in August last year. While political restrictions have eased a little in Kashmir since India revoked the region’s special status and degree of autonomy, a brief reopening of education in February lasted only until April’s Covid-19 lockdown brought classes to yet another grinding halt.