SRINAGAR: Violent clashes broke out on Wednesday afternoon at a college in the restive south Kashmir's Anantnag district where dozens of students resorted to stone-pelting and arson to protest against the hoisting of the national flag on the campus.

Witnesses and officials said students raised pro-freedom and anti-India slogans on the campus of Boys Degree College Khanabal where a sports program was underway in which hundreds of students from adjoining areas of Anantnag were participating.

"Some police officers hoisted the tricolour which infuriated the students who objected and started sloganeering. Police ignored their slogans which flared up tempers, sparking violent clashes between students and police on the campus," a senior police officer said.

According to witnesses, students set ablaze a tent set up for the officials who were participating in the event. A video of the clashes shows a group of young students putting banners of the event on a blazing pyre, amid anti-India and pro-freedom slogans.

"If it was meant to be a sports event, what is the logic behind inviting police officers? Students are already enraged about the happenings in Kashmir. By unfurling tricolour, they provoked the students which caused the clashes," a student of the college, who was part of the event, said, wishing anonymity.

Officials said additional reinforcements were rushed to the college to stop the clashes from spilling on the road outside which is the strategic Srinagar-Jammu highway that connects the landlocked Valley with the rest of the world. The college has been ordered shut to prevent any deterioration in the situation.

"Forces used massive teargas shelling to disperse the students some of whom joined hands with the troublemakers to pelt stones. The situation has been brought under control, more or less," the police officer said.

Police has registered a case into the incident and investigations are underway, "We are analysing the CCTV footage from the college to identify the culprits who disrupted the event. A case under sections of arson and other relevant sections has been registered," the officer said.

Clashes were going on in the area at the time when this report was filed.

(Cover Photograph: File picture of clashes between youth and cops in Srinagar BASIT ZARGAR)