Thousands of passengers stranded all day on Baramulla highway; in Srinagar students pelt stones and cause shutdown of markets, public transport
SRINAGAR:Violent protests, street clashes with police, and disruption of public movement continued to be a feature of people’s reaction in Kashmir to the news of rape of a three-year-old girl in Sumbal Bandipora.
On Tuesday, students of several Srinagar colleges came out on streets and began hurling stones at police and other government forces. Outside Government Degree College Bemina and Amar Singh College, police had to resort to teargas shelling to break up the crowds of the students. It led to closure of shops in the neighbourhood and vanishing of transport from the roads.
Students of Women’s College at MA Road and women students of Vitasta Law College in Nowgam took out a march in the city and reached press enclave, which house several media offices. The students carried with them placards and banners that read, “We want justice”, “Hang the culprit”, “RIP Humanity”, “Girls are not toys”. Later they marched towards the Ghanta Ghar to register their protest there.
“This protest rally is to push for stringent punishment to the culprit,” said Riffat Ajaz, a law student who was among the protestors.
The students of Sri Pratap College also took out a rally. Both male and female students first assembled at the press enclave and then marched towards the college, where the protest ended peacefully.
Local youths of Srinagar also assembled to hold a separate protest at the press enclave.
In Kashmir University, scores of students held a protest demonstration under the banner of the banned Kashmir University Students Union. Shouting slogans, they demanded capital punishment to the youth accused of the rape.
The students also claimed that the issue was being politicised and used as a “vote bank”. A girl student said, “We hope this time justice would be given to the victim immediately.”
Students of Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences at Bemina held a protest demonstration in which mostly MBBS students participated. The students demanded death penalty to the accused. The protesting students held up placards that read, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
In Baramulla, the Srinagar-Baramulla highway remained blocked for the third day on Tuesday at different places in the district. Sources said that a large number of people, mostly young men and women, came out on the highway near Hanjivera, Mirgund, Singpora and at other places and blocked the movement of vehicles. Thousands of vehicles were stranded on the busy highway since the morning.
Reports said that the protesters burnt tyres on the road and at some places blocked the road with stones and wooden logs. Local sources said that the protestors did not allow any person or vehicle to cross the barricades, resulting in thousands of passengers having to spend the day on the highway.
The passengers who suffered throughout the day complained that the administration should have informed passengers and drivers not to travel on the highway or should have imposed a strict ban on protests on the busy road.
Sources said that most of the people were protesting peacefully and only a “few children” had blocked the road at various places. They said that the police failed to restore traffic movement.
The people also blamed Deputy Commissioner Baramulla Gulam Nabi Itoo for not visiting the disturbed areas to pacify the protestors. They said that the Baramulla administration had completely failed to deal with the few miscreants who were hurling stones at vehicles and are blocking the traffic movement.
Another protest was held by school students in border town Uri in which hundreds of students of various institutions participated, chanting slogans against the government and demanding strict action against the youth accused of raping the little girl.
Reports said that school children held several protests in parts of Baramulla district to demand the strictest action against culprits involved in rape cases.