Students offer funeral prayers in absentia
Kaiser Majeed / Muheet ul Islam
Srinagar: Anti-India slogans reverberated at the University of Kashmir on Monday as students gathered to protest the killing of militants and civilians in Shopian Sunday, even as Governor N N Vohra arrived to inaugurate a Science Congress at the campus.
Three ministers invited by the organizers did not show up. University sources told Kashmir Reader that Education Minister, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari, and Minister for Social Welfare, ARI & Trainings and Science and Technology, Sajad Gani Lone had not confirmed their attendance due to their busy schedules.
“Only Imran Raza Ansari had given his word to attend the function but due to sudden change in the situation he could not attend the function,” sources said.
Kashmir Reader has learned that the university administration had asked Vohra to organise the function at SKICC apprehending opposition from students but Vohra had turned down the suggestion.
Despite suspension of class work by University authorities, the campus reverberated with pro-Aazadi, pro-Pakistan, pro-militant and anti-India slogans. The students under the banner of Kashmir University Students Union (KUSU) staged a sit-in-protest near Allama-Iqbal library against Shopian killings and demanded the invitation to cabinet ministers for the science Congress be cancelled.
“We are not against the ongoing Science Congress, we want our youth to excel in different fields and showcase their talent globally” a student said while interacting with KU official and Deputy Commissioner who was present at the campus to defuse the protest.
“We are against oppression and bloodshed carried out by the Indian forces,” the student said adding, “No cabinet minister should visit the campus because they are liars and are responsible for mayhem in Kashmir.”
University administration, however, requested the protesting students to call off the protest but they continued with their programme amid heavy deployment of government forces. The protest intensified after KU administration and police prevented students from marching towards the Convocation Complex where Vohra was addressing the gathering. The protesting students jumped the fences and managed to reach near the venue.
The police personnel deployed outside the Convocation Complex made a human chain to prevent protesting students from entering the venue. The organizers also closed all entry and exit points of the Convocation Complex.
Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar, Syed Abid Rasheed Shah could be seen exchanging arguments with KU administration over their failure to contain the protest. The DC already called for additional deployment. The students encircled by the police told the DC and KU administration that they would call off the protest only after holding funeral prayers in absentia for the slain in front of the convocation centre.
The KU administration after consulting with DC allowed the angry students to offer the funeral prayers. The students then held the prayers and dispersed peacefully.
Hundreds of female students residing in two girl hostels also registered their protest. The female students were first barred from coming out of their hostels in order to prevent their proposed protest in wake of the scheduled Science Congress. After the event concluded, the students were allowed to come out and in no time they took out a protest mach up to the Zabarwan guest house, where the participants of the Science Congress were having lunch.
The students, eyewitnesses said, raised pro-freedom and pro-Pakistan slogans to register their protest and condemned the killings of 13 militants and four civilians on Sunday during three separate gun-battles in south Kashmir.