Protests and massive clashes continued on Monday, a week after the government announced opening of Colleges in Kashmir.
On Monday morning students from SP Higher Secondary School (HSS) staged protests while boycotting their classes and assembled inside the school premises to protest and later marched outside the campus, shouting Anti-India and Pro-freedom slogans.
The protesting students tried to block the traffic movement at MA Road, however, police deployed in the area swung into action and burst several tear gas shells, triggering massive clashes.
Eyewitness said the students marched towards MA road by breaking the school gate. However, all the Colleges and Higher Secondary Schools across Kashmir functioned normally.
As the clashes between students from SP Higher Secondary School intensified, protests spread to the adjacent SP College wherein students forced the college authorities to close the office and other rooms.
In the meantime, a group of women students from Women College MA Road here also staged protest in the premises and started shouting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.
Earlier, Police arrested around six protesting students from SP HSS during the clashes and were lodged in Police Station Kothibagh.
“We will prefer to arrest the protesting students instead of using any force over them. This would eventually calm down the situation,” a senior police official said.
However, the early arrest of students angered the students who continued to engage themselves in clashes with police.
During the clashes, a student was critically injured after he was hit with a brick in his head and was shifted to SMHS hospital for treatment where his condition is stated to be stable.
Eyewitnesses, however, said scores of other students also sustained minor injuries during the clashes in the Lal Chowk area.
The clashes continued till late afternoon and spread to Residency Road, Maisuma, Regal Chowk and Abi Guzar Lane.
The continuous protests in the area forced the shopkeepers to down their shutters creating panic in the area. It was also chaos in the area as the pedestrians lost their way due to intense stone pelting and teargas shelling in the area. The Police which was engaged by the youth in clashes also used pepper gas shells to disperse the protesting students.
Earlier, the students from SP HSS asked the students of MA Road Women College to initiate protest. Later the girl students who had come out of college premises assembled near Maisuma, exchange road and tried to march towards MA road to join the protesting students there. However, the police party resorted to teargas shelling to disperse the girl students which in-turn intensified the protests.
In the clashes, over a dozen police personnel including SSP Srinagar Imtiyaz Ismail Parray also suffered injuries.
“SSP was hit with a stone in right elbow and was shifted to SMHS hospital for treatment,” a top police official said. The development was also confirmed by doctors at SMHS hospital.
The intensified clashes prompted police to remain on run to arrest the protesting students. Police vehicles were seen making rounds around Lal chowk to arrest the protesting students. However, the protestors blocked the road at several places to foil the police action. Police vehicles came under attack of protestors who were hurling stones on the vehicles.
During the protest and clashes, police resorted to aerial firing to disperse protesting students, including girls. A girl student was hit in leg during the clashes. Later, the situation restored to normal and traffic was restored on roads.
Colleges were closed after student protests broke out across Kashmir last week in wake of police action on students in Pulwama College. Around 50 students were injured after clashes broke inside the College premises on April 15.