Sumbal minor’s rape: Protesters bring traffic to standstill across city

Sumbal minor’s rape: Protesters bring traffic to standstill across city

Despite closure of schools and colleges, students clash with govt forces in several areas

SRINAGAR: Srinagar witnessed chaos in many parts of the city on Thursday morning as vital roads connecting parts of the old city with the peripheral areas were blocked by protesters who were seeking justice for the minor victim of last week’s rape incident in Sunbal area of Bandipora district.
The protesters had assembled at several places including Zadibal, Alamgari Bazar, Saida Kadal, Rainawari and the interiors of Hawal. Roads were blocked by the protesters and no vehicular movement was allowed.
“We were taking a patient to JLNM hospital, but when we reached near NIT Srinagar, we saw a huge number of forces deployed. When we reached near Saida Kadal, we were on foot because vehicles were not allowed to move, due to which our patient had to suffer a lot,” a patient’s attendant said at Jawahar Lal Nehru Memorial Hospital.
The blockage of two vital stretches caused considerable trouble to commuters. Traffic was forced to divert and take alternative routes, due to which commuters did not reach their destinations on time as it took them almost an hour to cross distances that would otherwise have taken 10 to 20 minutes.
“We were due to take our PG entrance paper at Kashmir University and almost missed it. We waited for Dargah bus for at least 45 minutes, but not a single bus came. To reach on time, we had to pay Rs 250 to an auto rickshaw,” said a group of students.
Meanwhile, to prevent a repeat of violent clashes between students and police in Srinagar, the authorities had already suspended class work in three higher secondary schools and seven colleges of the city on Thursday.
The institutions where class work remained suspended were SP Higher Secondary School MA Road, Islamia Higher Secondary School Rajouri Kadal, MPML Higher Secondary School Baghi Dilawar Khan, Amar Singh College Gogji Bagh, SP College MA Road, Gandhi Memorial College Fateh Kadal, Islamia College Hawal, Degree College Bemina, Women’s College MA Road and Women’s College Nawakadal.
However, clashes erupted between students of Gandhi Memorial College, MPML Higher Secondary School, Government ITI BDK Srinagar and government forces in Baba Demb area of Srinagar.
Witnesses said that scores of students assembled on the main road and blocked the traffic movement on Khanyar-Naqashpora-Barbar Shah road.
The students were demanding exemplary punishment to the accused in the Sumbal rape incident.
A posse of police reached the spot and asked the students to move back to their educational institutes. However, witnesses said, the students pelted stones on the government forces, triggering clashes.
The forces fired tear smoke shells to disperse them and restored traffic on the road.