Students rise in solidarity with their battered fellows

Students rise in solidarity with their battered fellows
  • Clashes at MA Road in Srinagar
  • Several students injured in Baramulla, Sopore, Shopian, Kulgam

Srinagar/Baramulla/Anantnag/Shopian: Massive protests erupted in almost all degree colleges across Kashmir on Monday and scores of students were injured in clashes with government troops. The government snapped all mobile data services later in the day to prevent a further flare-up of the situation.
The protests were held against the assault by police and paramilitary troops on students of Government Degree College Pulwama on Saturday, in which more than 50 students were injured by pellets, teargas shells, and batons and gun butts. The banned Kashmir University Students Union (KUSU) had called for protests in all Kashmir colleges on Monday.
Students of Srinagar’s Sri Pratap College clashed with police and paramilitary forces in their college campus. The government forces fired tear gas shells inside the college and also used water-canon to restrict the students within the campus.
While the clashes were going on, students of the Government Women’s College raised pro-freedom slogans on the main road which disrupted traffic movement. As the protests in the city centre spread, all shops in the area were closed.  The protest morphed in clashes and were going on till afternoon.

| Photo: Faisal Khan

The situation was brought under in the evening, according to SSP Srinagar Imtiyaz Ismail Parray, who told Kashmir Reader that no arrests were made during the day.
According to a police spokesperson, college property was damaged during the protests. “While tackling the stone-pelting, the SHO Kothibag and four policemen were injured at MA Road Srinagar. A lady constable suffered a fracture in her arm,” the police spokesperson said.

A sit-in protest was held in the campus of Kashmir University and in the Awantipora campus of the Islamic University of Science and Technology where the students raised anti-state slogans.
As soon as the news about clashes spread, hundreds of students from Gandhi Memorial College, M P Higher Secondary School, Govt. Degree College Bemina and Amar Singh College also took out protest rallies and staged anti-India protests. The students at Baba Demb and Degree College Bemina clashed with police and engaged in stone pelting battles. Police used dozens of teargas shells to disperse the students.
As the clashes continued in and outside city’s prime colleges, they then spread to Regal Chowk, Residency Road, Polo View Bar Bar Shah, Nowhatta, Bohri Kadal and Naid Kadal where youths pelted stones on police, resulting in partial shutdown of markets. Additional contingents of police and paramilitary personnel were deployed in all troubled areas. The clashes also erupted outside SSM School Parrayppora between students and police.
The students of Kashmir University, Central University and Islamic University of Science and Technology also staged massive protests but they concluded peacefully. Protests also erupted in Government Medical College where students protested in solidarity with Pulwama students.
In Kashmir University, students marched through the campus to protest against the forces assault on students in Pulwama.
In Baramulla district, 20 students were injured and several others arrested when students of degree colleges in Pattan, Tangmarg, Sopore, Handwara, and Baramulla boycotted classes and held protest demonstrations.

| Photo: Faisal Khan

The students raised anti-India and pro-freedom slogans while demanding immediate action against the troops who attacked the students at Degree College Pulwama.
Students tried to block the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road but were prevented from doing so by government forces who fired teargas shells to disperse them. Shells were also fired inside the Baramulla degree college where students said that police entered the college premises.
Several students were injured during clashes and were taken to local hospitals. At least 3-4 students, a police official said, were arrested.
Medical Superintendent of District Hospital Baramulla said that a student was admitted to the hospital where his condition is stable.
At the Government Degree College for Women, students staged a protest outside the college premises on the main road.
In Handwara, hundreds of students of the Government Degree College staged protests and clashed with police. The police fire teargas shells after students allegedly pelted them with stones.
In Tangmarg and Pattan, a large number of students including girls staged a demonstration where they raised anti-India and pro-freedom slogans.
In Sumbal, students of Degree College Sumbal and Higher Secondary School Sumbal took out a protest rally from the college towards the school in the main market, raising slogans against the government all the way. They carried placards that read, ‘We want Justice, We want Freedom’, and passed through the main market Sumbal.
In Sopore, intense clashes occurred between students and government troops that led to a shutdown in the area. Students of Government Degree College Sopore took out a rally from the college and marched towards Iqbal Market, chanting pro-freedom slogans. Students of Higher Secondary School Sopore joined them at Iqbal Market and when the rally reached near the SP office, students attacked the CRPF camp situated near the Town Hall with stones, after which the government troops baton-charged them and fired teargas shells at them.
According to reports, many students were injured and a few of them fainted due to the teargas. The injured students were taken to Sopore sub-district hospital, where they were given first-aid and then discharged.
In the clashes, photojournalist Peerzada Waseem was injured while covering the protests. “A stone hit his nose. He was taken to Sopore hospital where he received three stitches,” a witness of the incident said.
Media professionals covering the protests and clashes in Sopore alleged that government forces prevented them from doing their professional duties and also abused them.
All shops and business establishments were closed and traffic services were disrupted following the clashes in the area.
In Shopian, at least 10 students were injured in clashes that occurred in several areas of the district after students took out rallies from degree colleges. One among the injured students was referred to SMHS Hospital in Srinagar. Three college students were reportedly arrested near the college gate.
According to Medical Superintendent of Shopian district hospital, Dr Nazir Ahmad, the injured were discharged after first-aid treatment. A student of Class 11, Basit Khursheed, suffered pellet injuries in his eyes and was referred to SMHS Srinagar, Dr Ahmad said.
Locals told Kashmir Reader that students of Boys Higher Secondary School Shopian marched towards Government Degree College Shopian and when they reached Gol Chowk, they were intercepted by government forces.
Locals said that police and CRPF troops laid a siege around Government Degree College Shopian while the students chanted anti-India and pro-freedom slogans. The students began throwing stones at the troops and the troops fired teargas shells and pellets at them.
As many as 35 students of Kulgam Degree College were injured in clashes with government troops, according to reports. Protests were also held in Tral, Pampore, Kokernag, Dooru, and Anantnag towns but no violence was reported.
In Ganderbal, students of Government Degree College Ganderbal and Degree College Kangan boycotted their classes and raised pro-freedom slogans in the college campuses. Some reports said that clashes occurred after students of Degree College Ganderbal attempted to take out a rally on the main road where they were stopped by police. The police reportedly fired teargas shells and used batons to chase away the protesting students who pelted them with stones.
Students of National Institute of Technology (NIT) Srinagar held a ‘silent’ candle-light protest inside the college campus in the evening.