3 April 2020 12:59 AM



#FreeMuzamil: Kashmir University Closed Amidst Protests Against Students Arrest

A file picture of one of the many protests my students, on different issues, in Kashmir University

SRINAGAR: The University of Kashmir was closed for two days following violent protests against the arrest of a student. Five students were injured.

Protests turned violent soon after the talks broke down between a group of students seeking the release of Muzamil Ahmad Dar, a third semester student of the Department of English, who was detained on Monday in a raid by the Jammu and Kashmir Police counter-insurgency wing. He was picked up from his rented accommodation near the University.

Eyewitnesses said students were holding a peaceful-sit in near the administrative block housing the Vice Chancellor’s office when the University officials called in the police to disperse the protesters after the talks over the safe release of Dar broke down. This sparked the ensuing violence.

Reports said the police fired live bullets in the air and teargas to scare away the students who pelted stones at the administrative block and also damaged some property there. Five students were injured in the panic that broke out after police action.

Prof Khurshid Iqbal Andrabi, who recently took over as the vice-chancellor of the university, had been urging the students to call off the protests and the matter was raised by the university with the state's chief secretary and director general of police.

The state police issued a statement to the press on Wednesday, two days after Muzamil was detained, saying: "Police has arrested Muzamil Farooq, son of Farooq Ahmad, resident of Gandebagh of Pulwama for his links with militants. He was wanted in a case under FIR No. 90 of Police Station Rajbagh."

The protesters who have been holding protests on the campus for last two days, however, allege that Dar was detained for participating in the anti-yoga protest staged on the campus on International Yoga Day on June 21.

The police statement didn't mention the details about the nature of the case, when it was filed and why the police did not act against the student before. There are unconfirmed reports that Dar was found using an application on his android mobile starting with the alphabet V, which is "especially used by militants" for communicating with each other.

After the raid at Dar’s apartment in the Sadrabal locality, things have been heating up on the campus with more and more students joining the protest and marches taken out on the campus in his favour. In the meantime, many people from the Valley also joined the chorus for his release on social networking sites with #FreeMuzamil garnering scores of mentions on Twitter.

"After bulldozing student activism KU campus listens to gunshot. VC says "I'm sitting in my office i heard nothing." #FreeMuzamil #Kashmir,” Shahid Tantray, a resident of Srinagar, tweeted.

"Within my capacity, whatever I have to do, I will do that. This is not a simple protest demonstration but it seems that the students have been provoked by someone,” Prof Andrabi maintained.

He said the university has been closed for two days from Friday and all the students staying in the hostels have been asked to vacate the premises.