Student protests, tear gas shelling and aerial firing marked the first day of Darbar offices which resumed on Monday in civil Secretariat here.
Massive protests by students erupted in various parts of Kashmir against the detention of their mates by police over past weeks for their participation in protests.
At least seven students of Boys Higher Secondary School (HSS) and Degree College Tral were arrested by police after the former staged protests and resorted to stone pelting in Tral town of South Kashmir.
Witnesses said the students from Boys HSS Degree College Tral took out their protest march in the area and resorted to stone pelting on an army vehicle near Bus Stand Tral. However, the police party which was deployed in the area swung into action and used tear gas shelling to disperse the protesting students, triggering clashes.
“At least seven students were detained during the clashes between the police and students,” the locals in Tral said.
Following clashes, shutdown prevailed in the area as shopkeepers lowered their shutters and traffic disappeared from the roads as well.
Meanwhile, a senior police official in Tral denied use of teargas shelling on protesting students and said there was no Police deployment in the area.
“We didn’t use any force on students. The students resorted to stone pelting on shops and passenger vehicles which enforced a shutdown in the area including market near Bus Stand Tral,” the police official said.
He said no student was injured. “We detained six students and locals for questioning. We are ascertaining cause of protests which created violence in the area,” he said.
In a separate incident, army resorted to aerial firing in Zanakote area of Srinagar in outskirts to chase the protesting students from Government Higher Secondary School Zainakote here.
Eyewitnesses said the students from Government HSS Zainakote took out a protest march out of the campus and staged a demonstration on the Srinagar- Baramulla Highway.
They said the Police immediately reached the spot and tried to chase the students. However, clashes erupted between students and police after army men fired few shots in air to disperse students who had blocked traffic on highway.
“The army personnel of an army convoy moving on the highway resorted to aerial firing to disperse the protesting students who had started pelted stones on them,” eyewitnesses said.
Later, students clashed with police who however, responded by bursting tear gas shells on them.
However, no report of any injuries was received.
Meanwhile, students from Government HSS Newa in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district also fought pitched battles with police after the latter tried to thwart students protest.
Eyewitnesses said the students were protesting against the arrest of school and college goers by Police.
“They (students) were joined by local youth after they marched out of the campus,” eyewitnesses said.
They said clashes erupted in the area after the forces deployed in the area used tear gas shelling to chase the students.
Reports of student protest were received from north Kashmir parts wherein students clashed with police deployed in the area.
Witnesses said the students from Government HSS Qalamabad in Langate area of Kupwara district staged a protest against the use of forces on protesting students across Kashmir since past few weeks.
“The protesting students tried to march towards main Chowk Qalamabad but the forces restored to heavy tear smoke shelling to disperse them which triggered clashes in the area,” they said.
Tensions between students and forces have witnessed a spike since April 15, when police raided the Degree College in Pulwama, in south Kashmir resulting in injuries to over 50 students.
On April 17, another round of student protests across Kashmir more than 60 students and a dozen police officers injured. Authorities were forced to shut the educational institutions including colleges, universities and Higher Secondary schools for a week. But, the student anger refuses to die down in Kashmir.
Meanwhile protests spread to private schools after scores of students from Al Fallah Public School Aripanthan in central Kashmir’ Budgam district on Monday staged a demonstration demanding release of their detained schoolmate.
Locals said a student identified as Sahil Ahmad of sixth standard was detained by police last Thursday during a nocturnal raid in the area.
“Sahil was arrested in place of his elder brother Adil,” locals alleged.
However, reports said Sahil was released by Police while the protests were going on in the area.