Army Soldiers Barge Into School, Terrify School Kids?
SRINAGAR: After the row over 'human shield' and assault on Jammu and Kashmir Police personnel, the Army today landed in another controversy in Kashmir with its soldiers allegedly harassing students and the staff of a school in Srinagar.
A staff member of Hussaini Public Higher Secondary School situated in HMT area on the outskirts of the capital Srinagar said the personnel of a Rashtriya Rifles unit of the Army barged into the school premises and manhandled the students.
"They plucked students from classrooms and manhandled them in the ground. When the staff tried to intervene, the soldiers misbehaved with them too," a staff member told The Citizen, wishing anonymity for the fear of reprisal.
Another staff member said the Army soldiers, armed with automatic guns, barged into the classrooms without seeking permission from teachers and harassed the students who later suspended the classwork.
"The routine work has been suspended at the school and we are discussing ways of taking legal recourse to the incident which has shocked the students as well as the staff. The Army must be punished for this reckless behaviour," the staff members said.
The Army's Srinagar-based spokesperson, Rajesh Kalia, admitted the soldiers had entered into the school premises, "They had gone to counsel the students who are repeatedly found involved in stone pelting incidents," he said.
The incident comes days after a party of J&K Police personnel were assaulted by a unit of the Army near the famous Sonamarg health resort. The incident had left six cops injured who had to be hospitalised.
The Army has faced increasing allegations of highhandedness in Kashmir recently, especially over the last two to three months during which the security forces have intensified the counter-insurgency operations.
Earlier, on April 9, the Army's RR unit in central Kashmir's Beerwah, led by Major Leetul Gogoi, captured a shawl weaver, who was on way to a funeral, and used him as a "human shield".
The shawl weaver, Farooq Ahmad Dar, was strapped to a jeep and paraded through at least dozen villages, sparking worldwide condemnation with the New York Times describing the incident as a "new low" for armed forces in Kashmir.