In an important development, the Jammu and Kashmir administration has decided to ban a network of schools run by banned Jamaat-e-Islami (Jel) J&K on the allegations of 'frauds and mass scale encroachment of government lands'.

The schools are being run in the name of Falah-e-Aam (Welfare for All), a trust set up by the Jamaat-e-Islami, registered with the government under the number 169/5/72 dated July 31, 1972.

Earlier in 1990, when the then Governor administration had banned Jamaat-e-Islami, it had banned Falah-e-Aam Trust (FAT) too. Thousands of FAT teachers were absorbed in government services. However, the FAT went to court and the ban was overturned.

The investigations done by the State Investigation Agency (SIA) of J&K Police have revealed gross illegalities, outright frauds and mass scale encroachment of government lands by FAT-run schools across J&K, sources said. In this backdrop, the School Education Department has ordered cessation of academic activities in the FAT-affiliated schools.

On February 28, 2019 when the Union Home Ministry banned the Jamaat on grounds of being in “close touch with militants”, police and magistrates had issued notices to schools run FAT asking them to close down. However, later, the government issued a clarification that these schools would not be shut.

“The Jamaat mostly draws its sustenance from the vast network of FAT schools, seminaries, orphanages, pulpits of mosques and other charities. Such institutions played a destructive role in large scale unrests of 2008, 2010 and 2016 bringing huge miseries to common people and forcing them to shut down by threat, intimidation and street violence,” the SIA investigation reveals.

“Almost all the FAT schools, numbering in hundreds, have been found to be existing on illegally acquired government and community lands wherein lands were occupied by coercion, at gunpoint as well as colluding with revenue officials who made wrong entries in revenue documents by committing fraud and forgery,” it alleged.

The SIA has already registered an FIR in such matters and has prima facie established these facts. “The agency is expanding the ambit of these investigations to unearth all such frauds, unauthorised entities and forgeries having been committed in last 30 years at the behest of terrorists and for other considerations which include monetary gratifications,” the SIA statement revealed.

Before 1972, the Jamaat was already operating several schools, which it reportedly handed over to the FAT. With new schools too coming up under the trust, FAT today controls around 350 middle and high schools, including 300 in the Valley. FAT officials claim close to one lakh students are enrolled and over 5,000 teachers engaged.