Clashes in old city, girl student injured, soldiers fire aerial shots in Chatergul
Srinagar: A girl student of government higher secondary school Nawakadal, identified as Khushboo Jan, resident of Noorbagh, was admitted to SMHS Hospital after she suffered a head injury during clashes between students and government troops in Sekidafar on Thursday.
Police said that the girl was hit by a stone in her head when “protesters pelted government forces’ camp at Braripora Nawakadal with stones. During the stone-pelting, the girl was hit by a stone on her forehead,” a police spokesman said. According to eyewitnesses, however, the girl was hit by a glass marble shot by a CRPF trooper.
Khushboo, a Class 12 student, was part of a student march that started from the Nawakadal school and went through Nawakadal, Kawadara, Rajouri Kadal and Safakadal areas of downtown Srinagar. The student march was stopped by police at Sekidafar, after which students fought the troops with stones on the street and were chased away after use of teargas shells and stun grenades.
Khushboo was rushed to hospital where doctors treated her by making a few stitches on her head. Doctors said that her condition is stable but she is in shock.
According to an eyewitness, the student march was peaceful until the police stopped it. “Khushboo was hit by a glass marble, shot with a slingshot by a CRPF trooper,” the man said.
Another eyewitness confirmed this version. “I was present at the spot when she sustained the injury. She was facing the CRPF bunker and she was hit by a glass marble that came from where the CRPF men were standing,” he said.
“I saw a CRPF trooper pointing the slingshot at the girls and then, suddenly, this girl collapsed and was taken away to hospital,” he added.
Two other girl students were rushed to hospital after they fainted from the teargas.
The protesting students were shouting anti-government and pro-freedom slogans. “We are on the streets today just to tell India that we are not afraid of your forces. We demand stern action against those who critically injured Iqra and we are protesting against the attack on Pulwama college,” a girl student said.
Rumours of the demise of Iqra Misger, who suffered skull fracture on Monday allegedly from a stone hurled from a CRPF bunker, caused protests in several areas of downtown Srinagar. A police spokesperson said that the rumours were “baseless”.
“Iqra is under treatment at SMHS Hospital and is recovering fast. The rumours being spread are baseless,” he said.
Colleges and high schools continued to remain shut since Tuesday. Colleges would stay closed till Friday, a government spokesman said.
In Bandipora, several students sustained minor injuries after students gathered near Nadim Memorial boys’ higher secondary school at Kaloosa in the morning and attempted to block the Bandipora-Sopore road. Then they began marching towards the office of the Superintendent of Police which is close to the school. The police intercepted them, triggering clashes in the area.
The police had to resort to teargas shelling to disperse the protesters. A woman, according to eyewitnesses, was injured after a stone hit her. She was taken to the district hospital for treatment.
Students of government higher secondary School Hariganiwan and government higher secondary Chatergul in Kangan area of Ganderbal district held a protest in solidarity with other students of the Valley. The students chanted pro-freedom and anti-India slogans after the students of the Hariganiwan school took out a march from the school and held protests on the Srinagar-Leh highway. They dispersed peacefully and went back to their classes.
Students of the Chatergul school held protests inside their school premises. Students alleged that army soldiers from the nearby camp fired bullets in the air to scare the protesting students. “We were protesting peacefully in the school compound and the army soldiers fired aerial shots without any provocation,” the students said.
They said that the soldiers beat up some pedestrians, including a labourer Zahoor Ahmad Dar, who sustained injuries.
“We demand that either the school or the army camp be shifted as both are situated adjacent to each other,” the students said.
Meanwhile, students of government middle school Surfawgund blocked the Srinagar-Sonamarg road in protest against non-availability of teaching staff in their school.