Srinagar: Several students were injured in fresh clashes in Kashmir on Monday as protests against the police raid on a college in the southern town of Pulwama on April 15 entered its fourth week.
On Monday morning, as educational institutions opened across the region, massive protest rallies of both male and female students from higher secondary schools and colleges, emerged from Pulwama and Tral in south Kashmir and Kupwara in north Kashmir. Similar protests were also held in Zainakote area on the outskirts of Srinagar city.
Reports said some students were injured while throwing stones and bricks at police who tried chasing them off the roads. Shoppers and vendors fled as police used crowd-dispersing ammunition. Reports said the police sealed the gates of educational institutions after protests turned violent. However, students kept regrouping and targeting the security forces after short intervals.
At least seven students were detained during the clashes in Tral after students of Boys Higher Secondary school and Degree College staged protests and pelted stones on an army vehicle. Superintendent of police Awantipora, Mohammad Zahid said that the students enforced shutdown at Tral bus-stand by hurling stones on shops and passenger vehicles.
In Zainakot area on Srinagar-Baramulla highway, soldiers of an army convoy resorted to aerial firing to disperse the protesting students who had started pelted stones on them, witnesses said. The students, shouting pro-freedom slogans clashed with police later.
Students in central Kashmir’s Budgam district held protests demanding release of their detained schoolmate, reports said. Sahil Ahmad, a student of sixth standard, was detained by police last Thursday during a nocturnal raid in the area.
Students in school uniforms have clashed increasingly with security forces across Kashmir after police raided a college in the southern town of Pulwama on April 15. Nearly 200 students have been injured in the subsequent clashes.
With the J&K government finding it hard to pacify agitated students, Education Minister Altaf Bukhari on Sunday attempted to reach out to the student community by asking them to contact him directly to “end the crisis.” He also assured that he would get all the arrested students released.
On Sunday Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Zakir Musa had in an audio message asked the female students to abandon stone-pelting and stay in their homes. “Your brothers are alive yet. I want to tell the sisters that whatever you are doing is against Sharia law as pelting stones without being in veil is un-Islamic. In Islam, there are no such protests and that is why Allah is punishing us in the form of occupation (sic),” he reportedly said.