Anantnag: The Vice Chancellor (VC) of Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) Awantipora has taken strong note of “unprovoked” tear smoke and PAVA shelling into the campus by police on Thursday, while “normal class work in the university was going on.”
Police said that a “few” tear gas shells were fired after an army party that was laying/repairing a cable came under heavy stone-pelting from some “miscreants/students”.
According to sources in the university, panic gripped students and staff at around noon, when intense firing was heard near the campus.
“We did not know what was happening and tried to take the students to safer places in the building,” a source in the university said, adding that the firing was so intense that they first thought an encounter has broken out inside the campus.
The students and other sources in the university told Kashmir Reader that after a brief lull in the firing, tear smoke and PAVA shells started raining into the campus.
“Dozens of tear smoke and PAVA shells were fired into the campus and into one of the buildings, suffocating the students and the staff, particularly the female members,” they said.
“The shelling by police continued for more than an hour even as no protests were going on from the side of the students,” the students said.
The VC of the university, Professor Mushtaq A Siddiqui, came out in support of the students and corroborated all that the students were saying happened.
In a press release, issued through Public Relations IUST, Siddiqui termed the police action as “unprovoked”.
“There was no provocation from the students as normal class work was on in the varsity and protests started only after firing incident led to tear gas shelling in the campus,” Siddiqui was quoted as saying in the press release.
The release also mentioned that the students held a peaceful protest demonstration after the police action.
Police also issued a press release saying some miscreants pelted stones at an army party. “Police rushed to the spot to control the situation. Army was withdrawn and to control the severe and unprovoked pelting by students/miscreants, the police party used a few tear smoke shells to disperse the mob,” the police statement read.
The statement read that the “miscreants” also set on fire the cables being laid by the army. “An FIR has been registered into the incident,” the police said.