Kashmir: Students’ clashes with Forces in Sopore and Srinagar

Shutdown in Aripanthan against arrest spree

Srinagar: Normal life was disrupted in North Kashmir’s Sopore town after students clashed with government forces on Thursday morning. Student protests have been refusing to die down after clashes and subsequent Forces raid on Degree College Pulwama on 15 April last month in which over 50 students had suffered injuries. The incident sparked widespread students protest across Valley, forcing authorities to suspend the class work of some educational institutions from time to time. On Thursday Boys Higher Secondary School in Budgam remained closed following the clashes between students and police on Wednesday.

Eyewitnesses told CNS that large number of students from Degree College, Boys Higher Secondary School and Girls Higher Secondary School Sopore hit to road and staged pro-freedom protest. The students were demanding the release of the students picked up by government forces in different parts of Valley.

Witnesses added that students took out a protest march from Government Boys Higher Secondary School Sopore towards the Degree College through Iqbal Market. As police tried to stop them, they resorted to stone-pelting, prompting police to fire tear-smoke shells. “The clashes forced shopkeepers to down their shutters while traffic disappeared from the roads,” said an eyewitness.

Reports said that over dozen students were injured while some of them fainted due to clouds of smoke emanating out of intense tear-gas shelling. Reports added that several cops were also hurt during the clashes.

Medical Officer at Sopore Hospital said that couple of students with injuries were brought to hospital. “Some of them had fainted. They were treated and discharged. All are stable,” he said.

During the clashes ten cops including Station House Officer Sopore were also wounded.

SSP Sopore Mr Harmeet Singh Mehta told CNS that: “Students raised anti-India slogans and waved Pakistan flag. We didn’t enter into the college premises but consulted the Principal there. Girl students too protested but the situation was brought under control with the help of Civil Society members,” he said.

Clashes between police and students were also reported from Gogjibagh Srinagar where student from Kashmir Government Polytechnic College hit to roads and pelted stones on the government forces. Police however exercised restraint and didn’t retaliate.

Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was observed in Aripanthan village of Central Kashmir’s Budgam district against the random arrest of youth during nocturnal raid conducted by government forces.

Locals told CNS that government forces not only picked up 11 youth but also thrashed people in the middle of the night. The locals added that government forces barged into several residential houses in Aripanthan and Hazarpora localities and picked up as many as eleven youth from their homes.

“The arrested youth were dragged out from their houses and bundled into the police vehicles. As people resisted, they were thrashed and abused,” said locals.

Aripanthan village was in news last year in August when Para military Central Reserve Police Force personnel gunned down four civilians during people’s agitation.

While confirming the arrest of at least 10 youths from two villages of Budam district, a police official said that arrested youth are known stone-pelters wanted in different cases. (CNS)

 

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