Kashmir unrest: Mehbooba Mufti govt helpless as students-forces engage in pitch battles

Srinagar: Student protests in Kashmir Valley is refusing to subside with fresh clashes reported from almost all the regions on Wednesday. Over 15 students were injured when they clashed with forces in south Kashmir's Shopian and Pulwama districts.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. PTI

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. PTI

The spiraling student protests have shaken the state administration as the number of students hitting the streets is increasing with every passing day. The government had already suspended teaching activity at SP Higher Secondary School and Girls Higher Secondary School, Kothibagh in Srinagar till Wednesday after the students clashed with the forces on Monday. The decision to close few schools and a college was taken after thousands of students hit the streets against the use of excess force by security personnel inside the Degree College Pulwama, in which more than 65 students and 30 security personnel were injured.

However, on Wednesday morning, as soon the classes were about to begin at the Pulwama college, students left the classrooms and took to streets eventually leading to clashes between the protesters and forces. The protests broke out a day after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti met with the teaching staff of Pulwama college to seek factual details of the 15 April incident that led to widespread student protests across the valley.

"We were peacefully marching towards the main chowk of the Pulwama town when police stopped us and did not allow us to proceed towards the main town square. Some students retaliated and threw stones at them. The police fired teargas shells towards us when few students insisted on marching towards the main town," Saqib Rishi, a second-year student of Pulwama Degree College told Firstpost, on phone.

"The chief minister had told the staff of the college that she would take action against the forces for their action inside our college, but instead of that they threw teargas shells towards us today," he said.

Mufti had assured the staff of the college, who met her on Tuesday that actions will be taken against those persons who assaulted the students. She told the staff, according to sources, she directed police not to deploy their personnel near the colleges.

But on Wednesday morning, as soon as the classes started inside the college, students took to streets but few hundred metres from the college were intercepted by the police who tried to stop from marching towards the main town.

"As soon as we got out the college police fired tear gas shells towards us and chases us inside. Many students then retaliated by throwing stones at the police," Farooq Fazil, a third student of the Pulwama Degree college, said.

The clashes were reported from both south and north Kashmir of the valley more than a hundred students also pelted stones at a CRPF camp near Amar Singh college in Srinagar.

Students also clashed with forces in Shopian district of south Kashmir, after they boycotted their classes and started protesting inside the campus. The district administration placed a large contingent of forces outside the main gate of the college. At least eight students sustained injuries after forces allegedly barged into the Higher Secondary School Shopian, premises and fired pellets on protesting students.

"Many students raised pro-freedom and anti-India slogans inside the campus. Some of the students also tried to hit the streets but were stopped by the police which triggered clashes," Nauman Ahmad, a student from Shopian college, said.

Shopian, superintendent of police, Tahir Saleem, said the student’s pelted stones on the residential quarter of the deputy commissioner situated few hundred meters away from the school.

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Updated Date: Apr 26, 2017 17:32:52 IST

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