Student, Government faceoff continues
Chaos prevailed across various parts of Kashmir as student protests continued on Thursday against the arrest of their colleagues by the Police over the past weeks.
Students from various Government Degree Colleges (GDC) and Government Higher Secondary Schools (HSS) staged protests and clashed with police after the latter tried to thwart the protests by former.
Scores of students from GDC Magam in morning hours of Thursday clashed with government forces on Magam-Kralpora Road in central Kashmir’s Budgam district.
Eyewitnesses said the students assembled inside the college premises and staged protests against the arrest of students by police during past weeks in various parts of Kashmir.
They said the students also pelted stones on a convoy of the forces on Magam-Kralpora Road to which Police retaliated by using tear gas shells, triggering clashes in the area.
“Forces also lobbed tear gas shells inside the premises of the college which triggered chaos inside and outside the campus,” the eyewitnesses said.
Reports said the entry gate was kept closed by the College authorities in a bid to stop students from coming out of the campus. “But several students jumped over the periphery wall of the college following which they were detained by Police deployed outside the premises,” the locals said.
Meanwhile, students from a Government HSS also staged protests in north Kashmir’s Lanagte area of Kupwara district wherein students demanded release of their colleagues detained by JK Police in past weeks.
Eyewitnesses said the students from Government HSS Langate took to streets to protest against the student arrests. However the move was foiled by the JK Police deployed in the area who lobbed tear gas shells on the protesting students, triggering clashes.
A shutdown prevailed in the area post clashes as shopkeepers downed their shutters and traffic disappeared from the roads.
Interestingly, the minister for education Syed Muhammad Altaf Bukhari recently made an attempt to directly reach out to the students and asked them to directly contact him on his contact number and e-mail id. Despite these efforts there is no let-up in student protests in Kashmir.
Clashes also erupted between students and forces in Sopore town of Baramulla district.
Eyewitnesses said the students from Government Boys HSS and GDC Sopore clashed with government forces at Iqbal market in Sopore town creating chaos in the area which enforced a shutdown in the area and traffic was also off roads for hours.
“Forces resorted to tear smoke shelling on the students after they pelted stones on Police outside the main gate of the school at Iqbal market,” eyewitnesses said.
They said forces reacted by lobbing scores of tear gas shells inside the premises of the school, triggering chaos.
“As the clashes started, pedestrians ran for life while as shopkeepers downed their shutters,” eyewitnesses said.
Meanwhile, protests erupted in Dooru village of south Kashmir after students from Dooru HSS staged anti-Army demonstrations in the area alleging that army thrashed some of their school mates.
Reports said that army men allegedly thrashed students after stones were hurled at their vehicles in Nougam village of Verinag.
“The students went to their school following which protests were staged against the army action,” witnesses said.
They said forces used tear gas shells to disperse the protesting students which however triggered clashes in the area.
A shutdown prevailed in area post clashes while as traffic disappeared from the roads.
Kashmir witnessed spike in student protest post thrashing of students by forces in Pulwama Degree College on April 15 leaving over 50 students injured.
On April 17, another round of student protests across Kashmir left more than 60 students and a dozen police officers injured. Authorities were forced to shut the educational institutions including colleges, universities and Higher Secondary schools for a week. But, the student anger refuses to die down in Kashmir.