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Kashmir unrest: Following Pulwama clashes, schools and colleges stay shut for fifth day

Srinagar: Perturbed by the reaction of the students, the Jammu and Kashmir government, on Saturday, chose to keep the college and universities shut across the Kashmir valley for the fifth day, after a student unrest ensued following police raids on Degree College in Pulwama on Saturday, last week, in which more than 65 students and 30 forces personnel were injured.

Kumar Rajiv Ranjan, Director School Education, Kashmir, said the colleges and higher secondary schools are closed by the order of the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, not his. “We don’t pass the order to shut the educational institutes, it is the Divisional Commissioners office that does it,” Ranjan told Firstpost on phone.

On Thursday, hundreds of students blocked the Srinagar-Bandipora road in north Kashmir which led to massive clashes between forces and protesting students. The students were raising anti-government slogans and seeking justice for the students who were injured in the Pulwama Degree college.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

A girl student was also injured in the capital city of Srinagar and shifted to SMHS hospital during the student protests in downtown area of the city. Though police exhibited maximum restraint, many students were injured. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti later visited the students on Wednesday evening.

The protests and the subsequent clashes by the student community across the valley have shaken the establishment, who had failed to anticipate the anger among students after the videos on social media, showing forces shelling the college in Pulwama, went viral and were condemned by all sections of the society.

After the student protests engulfed the Kashmir valley, the state government attacked principal of the college in Pulwama, Abdul Hamid Sheikh. This decision did not gone well in the teaching community, and forced the teachers and professors to back the student protest.

“Instead of taking against security forces they attacked the college principle,” Roman Bashir, a student of Nawa Kadak Higher Secondary school, where a girl student was injured, told Firstpost on Friday.

The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Khan, on Friday issued directions as a “precautionary measure” that there would be no teaching in colleges on 22 April, Saturday. An official spokesperson said “teaching work in all the colleges of the Kashmir Division shall remain suspended on 22 April, 2017 as a precautionary measure.”

However, the colleges and universities were supposed to reopen on Saturday, after a call given by Kashmir University Students Union (KUSU) and Jammu and Kashmir Students Union who told the students to resume the class work “after a successful display of resistance, unity and valor.” The state government to shut them down as a precautionary measure.

“The protests in solidarity with the students assaulted by forces at Pulwama Degree College was not only exemplary but a historic message put across the globe that the struggle of right to self-determination is deep rooted in the conscience of every man, woman and youth of Jammu and Kashmir,” said a statement issued by the KUSU. “It should be kept in mind that while resuming class work the students should make resistance against India a way of life and raise voice against the oppression whenever needed or necessary,” the statement added.

Keeping in view the present prevailing situation across Kashmir valley, All J&K Students Union also requested students to join classes and appealed authorities to ensure the security of students, and demanded release of all arrested students.

“It is because of these incidents there is deep political alienation among the youth of Kashmir. Moreover, we appeal the state government to take all those FIR's back if they have logged against any student across Kashmir Valley during clashes,” a statement issued by AJKSU, said.

Interestingly the state government, had issued strict orders directing heads of educational institutes to reopen schools and colleges to bring back some semblance of normalcy in the Valley during the 2016 unrest, after the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani. The decision to reopen schools did not go down well with the arsonists then, who had burned down more then 35 schools across the towns and villages of south Kashmir.

Updated Date: Apr 22, 2017 15:54 PM

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