Students protest pops up new challenges for authorities

The continuous protests by students for three consecutive days against forces action on students in Pulwama College has thrown up a major challenge for authorities to restore the academic session in educational institutions which remained suspended in wake of widespread clashes that erupted on Monday.

There seems to be no strategy with the government to restore the academic schedule in educational institutions including colleges and Higher Secondary schools (HSS), observers believe. They say that the government only deems it safe to extend the suspension of class work in Colleges across and HSS in some districts.

On Wednesday Divisional authorities as a “precautionary measure” extended the suspension of teaching work in Kashmir colleges to avoid student protests against the last week incident of Pulwama wherein over 50 students sustained injuries in forces action.

“Teaching work in all Collages of Kashmir division shall remain suspended on April 20 and 21, 2017 as a precautionary measure,” reads an order issued by Divisonal Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan.

Suspension of class work in colleges, experts believe wont normalize the situation. “They should allow the educational institutions to remain open and concerned heads of the schools and college principals should be asked to do counseling of the students,” said noted academician, B A Dar.
Dar retired as Secretary JK Board of School Education (BOSE).

“Keeping colleges shut won’t let the situation to do a turnaround. Students should be allowed to express their will,” he said.

Dar however lamented the entry of forces inside the educational institution which triggered Valley wide protests.

“Nowhere, forces should be allowed to enter any educational institution. Why should a Nakka be laid by forces around any educational institution,” questions Dar.

While the government has extended suspension of class work in colleges, the move however seems to bear no fruits at all.

“It won’t serve any purpose. We are protesting against the thrashing of our brethren by forces in Pulwama. Closing our colleges won’t die down the anger among students,” said group of students in Srinagar who wished not be named, fearing police action.

“We are protesting to punish the cops who thrashed and dragged our students in Pulwama College. Let government act on it otherwise situation may turn more volatile,” another student lamented.

Already the government has attached Principal Pulwama Degree College to Director Colleges in Higher Education Department (HED) and ordered an inquiry. The report is likely to be submitted within seven days.

The inquiry team, a top official said is headed by Divisional Commissioner Kashmir. “It has happened for the first time that such a high level inquiry has been ordered. Earlier magisterial would be ordered in such incidents,” the official said.

Besides, the Police authorities in Pulwama district have also registered an FIR into the incident and started investigations into it. “FIR is registered and everything will come to fore after investigations are completed,” said a senior police official.

On Wednesday students in various districts of Kashmir continued their protests against the thrashing of students in Pulwama district last week.

Students in Baramulla, Sopore, Bandipora, Kangan, Handwara and other areas hit streets to register their protests.

The protests erupted despite suspension of class work in Colleges as ordered by the government on Tuesday.

The failure by the civil administration to bring situation under control is likely to create differences between the civil administration and authorities in JK police department.

“Police has decided not to involve itself in it. Let civil administration play their role and control the situation,” a top police official said.

The official said efforts will be made to normalize the situation by holding meeting with the college principals.

“College principals will hold meeting with their concerned DCs and parents will be motivated to counsel their children as well,” he said.

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