Conflict

Shopian Killings backlash: Students hit the roads across Kashmir, clash with armed forces

FPK Photo/Utsa Sarmin

Srinagar: On Thursday, after three days and a long ‘Bloody Sunday’ (when 20 people were killed) children from the Srinagar city went to their pre-schools, schools, colleges and universities. At around 10. 30 in the morning, news about protests being held at various educational institutions started coming in.

The University of Kashmir, Amar Singh College, S. P College, Degree College of Bemina and Government College for Women, M. A Road started reverberating with the slogans. By the end of the day, the city was caught up in the wave of protests.

With the government’s decision to keep the educational institutions open in Srinagar on April 5,  a throwback to 2016 and 2017 occurred when the students, in uniform and civil clothes, gathered, raising anti-India slogans. Students also chanted pro-freedom, pro-Pakistan, pro-Lashkar-e-Toiba, pro-Burhan Wani and pro Zakir Moosa slogans.

Near the Amar Singh College, while the media persons were allowed to shoot, locals shooting videos were attacked with stones and yelled at by the protestors. To save themselves from filming, they had put on masks on their faces and broke/ damaged all the CCTV cameras present in the area.

Protestors climbed the walls and some among them removed their shirts. One among them stood shirtless and screamed, “Aao Maaro (come and kill us)”.

With a stick and a plastic table in his hand, a protestor stood on the road. As soon as the shell was fired, he hit it with his ‘bat’ and it went back to the other side.

FPK Photo/Utsa Sarmin

At the Kashmir University, students came out with a protest rally. One after another, news about the clashes between armed forces and the protestors started to come.

“The College authorities at Amar Singh were unusually enquiring about who was coming in the college. I was supposed to be there at 11. But they had put a notice on the main gate which read that they would be available at 1.30 pm,” said a woman who chose to wait inside a local café Books and Bricks here.

The reporter had noticed some bikers outside the college soon after which the protests started.

“As soon I sat inside, the shutters were pulled down”, she says adding that as soon all she could hear were slogans and sound of stones hitting the shutters.

The protestors had blocked all the ways to them using the plant protectors installed on the road dividers. The police tried to disperse the crowd, however, it failed a couple of times. Then the cops came from two sides and tried again. While the students went inside, the armed forces shot tear and pepper gas shells in and outside the college.

While this was happening near the Amar Singh College, female students had started protesting at the M.A Road’s Women’s College. At the Indoor Stadium, the boys burnt a board. Later, firefighters had to come and extinguish the fire.

FPK Photo/Utsa Sarmin

The clashes kept intensifying all through the day and spread around in areas including Goni Khan and Downtown.

The parents of the children were in a state of panic and where trying to get their wards back home safely.

“My girls went to Oasis pre-school and Arya Samaj. How do I go out and bring them back,” said a women who lives opposite to the Amar Singh College. She had been making rounds of her main-gate, trying to peep out so she could get her children home.

Meanwhile, clashes were reported from Handwara district also where three students of the Degree College sustained minor injuries.

Raising anti-India and pro-freedom slogans, the protesting youth tried to march out of the college premises.
However, police and paramilitary forces swung into action and charged the students with batons to disperse them. in which three students suffered minor injuries.

 

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