By Riyaz Bhat
Awantipora: Of late, students of the Islamic University of Science and Technology have been startled by sounds of loud explosions emanating from the neighbouring army camp.
The varsity and the headquarters of Victory Force, which is the army’s counterinsurgency force for south Kashmir districts, share boundary marked by spools of razor wire.
Students and teachers had since the university’s inception in 2006 become accustomed to sounds of daily small firearms practice by soldiers. However, over the past few weeks, the students complain that loud explosions in the camp have disturbed them.
“During classes we often get disturbed by heavy explosions and shelling. Sometimes we miss what the teacher is saying,” said Faiqa Aalam, an engineering student.
Dr Munejah Khan, head department of English, said students often tell her that “something has happened”.
“But we try to assure them that the firing is part of the routine training of soldiers and there is no need to panic. It doesn’t happen often but whenever they practice the frequency of gunshot sounds is high,” she said.
Registrar IUST AG Rather told Kashmir Reader he “knew nothing about this issue”.
Army spokesman Rajesh Kalia said, “Victory Force does not carry out heavy explosions.”
Vice-chancellor Dr Mushtaq Ahmad Sidique said, “I have noticed that the explosions carried out are disturbing class work and create panic among many students. I am not sure whether the heavy explosions are carried out by the Victor Forces or someone else but soon I will talk to the authorities concerned to solve this problem.”
The VC said he was not aware of whether his predecessors or any other university official has taken up this issue with army.