Clashes break out in Srinagar college

Miranda GreerApr 26, 2017

- Reuters picSRINAGAR, April 24 ― Police fired into a crowd of stone-throwing students in Indian Kashmir today, as violence in the disputed region intensified.

Violent protests first erupted on April 15, when security forces raided a college in southern Kashmir's Pulwama district about 30km south of Srinagar, and assaulted students - at least 54 sustained injuries.

Students of Government College for Women on Monday staged a protest on MA road and clashed with forces. The police said that among its injured officers and men are SSP Srinagar Imtiyaz Ismail Parray, SP East (Srinagar) Sheikh Faisal and Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Kothibagh, Imran Farooq.

At a time when the news of a Kashmir youth tied to an Army jeep as a human shield against stone-pelters has stoked a major controversy, a video clip of pro-Azadi protesters forming a human chain to provide safe passage to soldiers in the restive Valley has gone viral on social media.

Government forces used tear gas and water cannon to stop students from marching in the streets.

The angry students also chanted slogans against Indian rule over the Muslim-majority Himalayan region. Associated Press photographer Dar Yasin was documenting a protest by dozens of Kashmiri students confronting armed Indian government forces wearing riot gear. A police control room official said that students had come out on the roads and security forces retaliated to quell the protests.

Also Monday, suspected rebels shot and killed a pro-India politician, Abdul Gani, near the town of Pulwama, police said.

The police tried to push the students back inside the campus, triggering clashes. "We have reports that some teachers at the colleges had pleaded with the students not to engage in clashes but their answer was that they wanted nothing short of martyrdom", he said.

Soon after the schools and colleges reopened after being shut for a week, the students took to streets in Srinagar's nerve centre to lead the march.

Rebel groups have been fighting government forces since 1989 and about 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and subsequent Indian military crackdown.

An official statement said all universities, colleges and higher secondary (Class 12 level) schools would open for academic activities in the valley on Monday. Since their independence from Britain, the two countries have fought three wars, two exclusively over Kashmir. While over fifty students including females had been injured in Pulwama, about 150 more students and over a couple of dozen security personnel were injured in subsequent incidents elsewhere in the Valley.

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