Student protests could trigger ‘mass unrest’

Kashmir is staring at the possibility of escalation in the violence as the student protests have intensified across the region resulting into injuries to many students.

Even as the police have blamed some “miscreants’’ for the current situation, the way government tackled the protests has only deteriorated the security scenario.

 Government forces used excessive measures against the girl students leaving many injured, while as one, Iqra Sidiq, has received serious skull injuries and is admitted at the S.M.H.S hospital.

A number of students Kashmir Vision spoke to said that they were left with no choice but to take out the protests as the forces roughed up the students of government degree college, Pulwama.

A student of SP college, Gazi Muzamil, said that the students were forced to take out the protests “due to the excesses committed on those in Pulwama.’’ Mood at the colleges in Srinagar was of anger even as the school authorities are trying to prevent the students from taking out protests. Students took out protests across different colleges today which came after a daylong break.

On Monday, when the colleges were opened after a week-long break, students again hit the streets and the use of tear gas shells and bullets failed to quell the protests. The situation remains grim ahead of the opening of the Durbar move offices in Kashmir. The trigger for the current student unrest was the student protest at the degree college in Pulwama. When the situation was yet to normalize, army wanted to organize a public interaction programme, which only ensured that the angry students hurl them with stones.

A senior police official said that on 12 April armed force personnel had come to the campus of the degree college Pulwama but as the students opposed the presence of the personnel on the premises they agreed to move out.

However three days after the incident on April 15 the youth indulged in the incidents of stone pelting on the joint contingent of police and CRPF personnel which was stationed outside the college.

Despite the strict instructions by the Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, that the forces should bear restraint, the videos of the youth being thrashed has only worsened the situation.

Given the situation, students are in no mood to back down. President of the Jammu and Kashmir Students Welfare Association, Danish Bhat, said that the students were unhappy with the current PDP-BJP government.

“The PDP has back-stabbed the people of Kashmir. It sought votes to keep the BJP away, but later joined hands with the same party to run the coalition.’’

However, there are other issues that confront the students. Government has snapped the internet services, which is being largely seen by many of them only as a “repressive measure’’. Bhat said it is the anger over the communal policies of the BJP that students are taking to streets instead of attending the classes.

A Pulwama resident, Javid Ahmad, said that it was the government which was responsible for the protests.

“The police personnel had come to the degree college Pulwama to detain some of the students who were part of the protests and as the students resisted the move it resulted into the clashes between the police and paramilitary force personnel. The entire Pulwama Township witnessed shut down for three days after the clashes between students and the police. The army must have avoided visiting the college and the education should be separated from politics,’’ he said.

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