Students Protest All Across Kashmir
SRINAGAR: Authorities used force to disperse student protesters who hit the streets in parts of the Valley today against the "excesses" committed by armed forces at a college in Pulwama last week which sparked massive anti-India demonstrations across Kashmir.
The Valley remains tense with authorities snapping 3G and 4G services to prevent a flare-up while the higher secondary schools, colleges and universities were closed for a day yesterday after massive anti-India and pro-freedom demonstrations left at least 80 students wounded on Monday.
Protests however broke out today in parts of Kashmir including Sopore, Palhalan, Delina, Ajas, Nadihal and Kangam where students took out demonstrations in solidarity with the students of Pulwama Degree College who were assaulted by government forces last week. The Pulwama incident left 50 students injured, some of them critically.
Witnesses and police sources said forces used teargas and batons to disperse student protesters who tried to block the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad highway near Palhalan and Delina today. There are no reports of any injuries even as the clashes are going on in these areas. At Kangan, students staged a sit-in protest in main market, officials said.
The tensions in the Valley have reached a tipping point in absence of any political outreach by New Delhi following last year's bloodied uprising with the authorities resorting to "autocratic" measure to curb protests by students which has rattled the state administration, even as the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti appealed for calm.
At least 80 students, some of them girl students, were wounded as schools and colleges turned into battlegrounds on Monday following a wave of protests against the assault in Pulwama Degree College on students who were protesting against a security checkpoint set up outside the college.
Meanwhile, a 25-year-old youth who was injured on the day of by-poll to Srinagar-Budgam parliamentary constituency, passed away at a hospital in Srinagar last night, officials said, taking the toll of deceased civilians on the bloodied April 9 day to nine.
Officials said the deceased identified as Muzaffar Ahmad, a resident of Zangalpora village in Kulgam district of south Kashmir, was hit by a bullet and he was admitted at the Intensive Care Unit of SKIMS hospital, "He was put on ventilator support but he passed away today in thr morning," an official in SKIMS said.
The news of his death was met with a spontaneous shutdown in Ganderbal where he worked as a labourer as well as his native village in Kulgam. A large crowd of mourners, mostly youths, has gathered at his home where preparations are underway to perform his last rites. Authorities have stepped up security in the area to prevent any clashes.
(Cover photograph BASIT ZARGAR)