Kashmir: 54 students injured in Pulwama clashes

Qayoom Khan

Srinagar: Around 54 students were injured as massive clashes erupted at Pulwama Degree College between students and Indian forces on Saturday.

According to students, a contingent of police and forces entered the College premises apparently to arrest some boys involved in last protests against army presence recently. “As soon as the forces were spotted, students staged protests and pelted stones, triggering massive clashes,” they said, adding that police fired dozens of teargas shells and pellets.

The intense clashes spread outside the College including Main Market. Witnesses said police fired dozens of teargas shells to disperse the stone-throwing youth who were however unfazed and continued pelting stones. Due to intense clashes, all the commercial and transport activities came to a halt in Pulwama town.

Medical sources said 54 students were injured in the clashes. The injured students included girls as well and they were shifted to Pulwama Hospital. According to medical officials, some of the girls were also brought unconscious to the Pulwama hospital. They further added that five injured were referred to Srinagar hospitals but all of them are stable. The students accused police of vitiating peaceful atmosphere in the College.

Meanwhile, a police statement issued here said: “A normal naka was established around 200 meters away from Degree College Pulwama. As class work ended some miscreants started pelting stones at the naka party. To handle the stone pelting, reinforcement was rushed to the spot. The mob swelled as more students joined and pelted stones on the forces.”

“In this incident some miscreants and police personnel were injured. One was referred to Srinagar hospital where his condition is stable. The District Police administration has clarified that no raids were conducted and video being shared on social networking groups is not from Pulwama.”

Meanwhile, the Kashmir University Students Union said the attack on Degree College Pulwama by Indian forces on Saturday is another eye opener about the nature of the state apparatus.

“The savagery inflicted on students isn’t only a display of the basic lack of regard for the sanctity of educational institutions, but is meant, as part of the oppression unleashed on yet another generation of Kashmiris, to humiliate and break the will of the youth of the Valley who are at the forefront of the struggle for right to self-determination.

“Is there anything more absurd than a state which claims, when there is an uprising, that the education of our children is suffering and then the same state keeping up its gory traditions of killing, arresting, maiming and beating up those children; giving free reign to marauding Indian forces to occupy those educational institutions and attack them?

“This attack was also another instance in the state’s sole ‘policy’ in Kashmir: to rule by repression and fear. The resistance by the students in the Degree College Pulwama, despite the brutal methods used against them – with over 50 students, including girls injured by Indian forces – is also a symbol of the Kashmiri spirit to stay determined in the face of overwhelming force and repression.

Kashmir University Students Union (KUSU) stands in solidarity with the students in Pulwama, and across the state, and reiterates its demand for the right to self-determination in J&K, according to UN resolutions.”

“KUSU also calls for a protest against the brutality perpetrated by Indian forces on students on Monday;  the peaceful protest should be held in all the educational institutions, including Colleges, other university campuses, including in the Pir Panjal region,” the statement added. (GNS)

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