Kashmir unrest: While IGP blames 'outside elements' for student protests, CM tells media to back off

The students protesting on the streets of Kashmir since 15 April may not like it, but Inspector-General of Police, Kashmir range, Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani says that some "outside elements" are responsible for fomenting trouble in campuses and behind the sustained student protests.

It is for the first time, since the student protests started in the Valley, that the police has blamed 'outside elements' for sustained protests that have spread to almost every district of the Valley. On Monday, when the students in the Langate area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, marched towards the main chowk of the town to register their protests against the "forces' excesses" and arrests of students, the security forces resorted to heavy teargas shelling to disperse them.

"The protests will continue and we are not backing down until the chief minister apologises to all the students, who have been booked since 15 April, and they are released from police stations," Amir Qayoom, who participated in the protests in the Langate area, told Firstpost on the phone.

File image of students protesting. Image Courtesy: Eeshan Peer

File image of students protesting. Image Courtesy: Eeshan Peer

Students blocked a road in Aripanthan against the detention of a Class VI student in Magam Beerwah Road in Budgam district. The protesters said that 11-year-old Sahil Ahmad Dar, a student of Al Falah Public school, was arrested by the police last week. But Gillani said in a press conference in Srinagar that in Handwara some "outside elements" are spending money to lure students, forcing the police to take action.

"Barring a few schools, 95 percent of schools and colleges are working normally. We have arrested some students, but after questioning we will be releasing them," Gillani said.

However, as the IG was speaking to the media, clashes between protesting students and forces broke out in the Newa area of Pulwama and the students of Government Higher Secondary School in Newa, Al Fallah Public School Aripanthan, Higher Secondary School Qalamabad, Government Higher Secondary School Zainakote, Boys Higher Secondary school and Degree College Tral, soon joined the protests and clashes with the forces.

Police officials said that the police and CRPF personnel deployed at the places tried to disperse the protesters by cane charging them. The officials said that the protesters pelted stones, forcing them to fire tear gas canisters to disperse the pelters. During these protests, no injury was reported from anywhere. Surprisingly, the protests have not subsided in the recent days and weeks. They have only escalated and clashes are reported almost everyday from north or south Kashmir. This has forced the state government to close down many schools in the past few weeks.

The state, again, on Monday closed down Handwara Degree College and two other educational institutes for two-days protests, after sensing trouble.

In the middle of April, a clash at a degree college in Pulwama district left dozens of students injured, it was a tipping point. Since then anger has been simmering and every now and then clashes are reported between students and forces in Srinagar or other districts of Kashmir.

The IGP said the police was investigating the Pulwama incident and promised action as per rule on the police crackdown on Degree College Pulwama on 15 April, that triggered widespread student protests across Kashmir. He said there were 28 incidents of student protests so far across Kashmir.

"An inquiry is on and action as per law will be taken," Geelani said, "Attempts are being made in new places to disrupt school work."

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Monday the prevailing situation in the Kashmir was "serious", but can be resolved and appealed to the electronic media not to telecast those debates that disturb peace in the state.

"Every issue has a solution. The prevailing situation is serious but it too has a solution," Mehbooba said.


Published Date: May 09, 2017 12:42 pm | Updated Date: May 09, 2017 12:42 pm

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