Students ‘unrest continues’, scores injured in clashes
Dozens of student’s sustained injuries during the massive clashes with that broke out in north and south districts of Kashmir on Saturday.
At least 25 students sustained injuries during the clashes that broke out between the students of Handwara Degree College and Police.
Eyewitnesses said the students from GDC Handwara took out a protest march outside the college and marched on roads amid pro-freedom and anti-India slogans. However, the police swung into action and tried to disperse them, triggering clashes.
At least 25 students were hurt in the massive clashes that rocked Handwara and Pulwama today as the student demonstrations continue for the third week in Valley.
Witnesses said students of Government Degree College (GDC) Handwara and Higher Secondary school Handwara were protesting against the April 15 crackdown on college students in Pulwama and the arrests of students in subsequent protests.
However, the police officials said the students from GDC Handwara resorted to stone pelting on public transport while holding their protest in town forcing police to use tear gas shelling to chase them away which however resulted in clashes.
“The students came out of their college premises and damaged vehicle by hurling stones on them. They also pelted stones on police personnel deployed in the area,” a senior police official said.
Interestingly, the student protest later spread to the Higher Secondary Schools situated in the nearby area of the town.
The faculty members in the Government Girls Higher Secondary School (HSS) Handwara said the excessive use of force on the protesting students influenced the girl students and around 50 students fell unconscious and faced suffocation.
“The students were inside school but they were suffocated due to intense use of tear gas shelling and were later shifted to hospital for treatment,” the faculty members of the Girls HSS said.
According to faculty members the Higher Secondary School is located half a kilometer away from GDC Handwara. “But the smoke spread inside the premises leaving scores of students suffocated,” the teachers said.
The Handwara Girls HSS according to school teachers has an enrolment of around 1500 students and majority of them had attended the school on Saturday.
“But the excess use of tear gas shelling disturbed the ongoing class work here. Many girls fainted on spot after they had to inhale the smoke coming out of tear gas shells used on protesting students outside,” the school teachers said.
Meanwhile, the Principal of Girls HSS Handwara said all the students who were shifted to hospital were discharged after given treatment by the doctors.
However, the doctors at the Handwara hospital said around 27 injured students were admitted in the hospital who however were discharged after given proper treatment.
“Most of them were stable,” the doctors said.
They said one girl had sustained head injury but was stable. “We did her CT scan and as the reports didn’t show any damage to her,” they said.
Meanwhile, shopkeepers lowered their shutters in the area after the clashes between students and police intensified outside the Degree College and the main chowk areas.
Reports said that scores of students were also injured after clashes broke out between students and government forces in Newa area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
Witnesses said that the students of Government HSS Newa staged a protest rally to express their resentment against the arrests of students in recent past. They said forces however used tear gas shelling to disperse the protesting students, which triggered clashes in the area.
“The students of HSS were pelting stones at a nearby army camp,” they said.
Police officials said minor clashes took place after students pelt stones at the Army camp who, however were pacified by the teachers and police present at the spot. The situation was put under control immediately,” a senior police official said.
Protests erupted in Churat village of Devsar area in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Saturday after a minor boy identified as Zeeshan Shah (15) was injured, allegedly due to pellets fired by the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
Reports said that troopers of 163 BN CRPF fired at the minor after stones were allegedly hurled at their vehicle passing through the area.
“Shah has received multiple pellet injuries and was referred to District Hospital Anantnag for specialized treatment. His condition is, however stable,” the doctors said. People took to streets and staged protests after the news about the incident spread in the area.
The student protests witnessed a spike post thrashing of students in Pulwama College by forces who barged into Degree College Pulwama on April 15 leading to clashes in which 54 students were injured. The clashes spread to all the districts of Kashmir especially Srinagar where the colleges remained shut for nearly a week.
Even if educational institutions have started functioning normally in some parts of the Valley but the students protest continue in Kashmir. Recently, student protests re-emerged in central Kashmir’s Budgam district and Sopore in North Kashmir forcing authorities to shut the schools in sensitive parts occasionally.
The student protests have only made the security situation difficult in South Kashmir, which has seen a spate of bank robberies by unidentified gunmen and the attacks by militants on government forces.
Governor, N N Vohra, Friday briefed Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, about the prevailing security situation here across Jammu and Kashmir and the steps that the state government is taking to restore the normalcy in the region which has seen a fractured calm after the uprising that started over the killing of HM militant commander, Burhan Muzafar Wani, in July last year.