Srinagar: The students arrested on April 17 during protests at Lal Chowk Srinagar are still in police lock-up at Kothibagh police station. The police are refusing to release them.
Relatives of one of the detained students told Kashmir Reader that police told the families that their wards would be released after a brief counselling session but on one pretext or the other the police are continuing to keep the students in detention.
“The day the students were arrested, their families went to the (Kothibagh) police station to seek their release. They were told that the students would be released the next day (on Tuesday). When on Tuesday the families went there, police refused to set the students free,” relatives said.
The families have been paying frequent visits to the police station to make sure their children are okay and to plead before police officers for their release.
Intense clashes had erupted between government forces and students on April 17 near SP College on MA Road and from there they spread to nearby areas including Lal Chowk. The students had started marching towards Lal Chowk when government troops stopped them at the college gate and fired teargas shells to prevent them from forcing their way out. Many students as well as policemen were injured in the clashes.
A police official at Kothibagh station told Kashmir Reader that the students were being “counselled” even as an investigation was going on to ascertain their alleged involvement in organising the protest and the stone-pelting on men in uniform.
“We have registered a general FIR here. We will wait for the investigation to be complete and then book the culprits accordingly. Right now we are counselling them to focus on their studies rather than on stone-pelting or such activities,” the official said, refusing to explain what kind of counselling students were being given by the police.
He said that by keeping the students in lock-up, the police are sending a message to other students to not indulge in stone-throwing in the future.
SHO Kothibagh Rashid Ahmad had called this reporter to the police station when contacted on phone for details. When this reporter visited Kothibagh police station during daytime on Thursday, Ahmad was not present there.
Superintendent of Police City East Shiekh Faisal Qayoom did not respond to phone calls.