SSP Srinagar among 25 hurt as students stage violent protests; 12 detained

Adil Lateef

Female students protesting in Srinagar on Monday.  -Excelsior/Shakeel
Female students protesting in Srinagar on Monday.

Srinagar, Apr 24: Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Srinagar among 25 persons including cops, students and photojournalists were injured as college and school students instead of attending their regular class work after a week staged massive protests and resorted to heavy stone-pelting on security forces in Lal Chowk area of the city.
With no call for protest from any student or separatist outfit, the students of Sri Pratap College and Sri Pratap Higher Secondary School at around 10:30 am boycotted their classes and assembled on their campuses’. The students started sloganeering and began marching towards Maulana Azad Road where they raised slogans against police and Government. The police rushed to the spot and started chasing students after which latter pelted stones on them, ensuing clashes.
The police personnel first used water cannons to disperse the protesting students but it couldn’t deter the rock-throwing students and then police started teargas shelling. Unfazed by police action, the students resorted to heavy stone-pelting on police while also pelted police armoured vehicles. With stone-pelting intensifying and teargas shells exploding with huge bangs, chaos and panic spread in entire commercial hub Lal Chowk, halting business and transport activities.
In the meanwhile, the students of nearby Women College also came out of their campus and joined their male counterparts in protests and stone-pelting. Amid chaos, the clashes between police and students including females spread to Regal Chowk, Residency Road, Exchange Road, Maisuma, Lal Chowk and Court Road. Hundreds of students and some other youths resorted to heavy stone-pelting on police and paramilitary at these locals. To control the situation, police used dozens of teargas and pepper shells and also fired in air, witnesses said.
During the violent stone-throwing clashes, five male students, a pedestrian lady and a female student sustained injuries, police sources said, adding all the injured are out of danger.
On the police side, SSP Srinagar Imtiyaz Ismail Parray along with two officers and nine other policemen also sustained stone injuries. Five photojournalists, who were covering the clashes, also sustained injuries and one of them, Basit Zargar, was hit in head with a stone. He received two stitches but is out of danger. The police sources said that 12 youth including students were also held during stone-pelting.
Detailing today’s violence in city centre, a police spokesman said in a statement issued here that students were attending classes normally today in SP School and in Women’s College at M A Road here. “However, just after the end of about an hour of class work, some miscreants from different places entered in the premises of school and created disturbances. The miscreants along with some students blocked MA Road because of which hundreds of vehicles got stranded on this ever busy road and adjacent squares.
“The police and security forces personnel reached the spot. They were pelted upon heavily due to which many police and security forces personnel were injured. The stone pelting created panic in the area after which many shopkeepers closed their shops. Some vehicles were damaged. The miscreants and the students pelted stones on Traffic Headquarters and attacked police vehicles with stones clubs and batons,” the spokesman said.
The spokesman asserted that police showed “utmost restraint”. “Twelve personnel including three officers were injured in the stone pelting. Some boys involved in stone pelting were caught on the spot and detained by Police. The mob was dispersed and the normalcy was restored in the area,” he said and requested parents to advise their wards not to indulge in stone pelting and other such activities which create disorder in the schools and on the roads.
The fresh protests and clashes by student community broke out in city’s commercial hub after Government decided to re-open colleges and higher secondary schools across Kashmir Valley after week-long closure following unprecedented and large scale protests last Monday. The protests last Monday by students had broken out against police action on their counterparts in Pulwama Degree College in which over 50 students were injured.
Besides city centre, officials said that barring few incidents of protests by students in Baba Demb, Soura and Nowshehra areas of Srinagar, the situation in other colleges and schools of Kashmir was peaceful and students resumed their classwork as per routine. There was a peaceful protest outside Ganderbal College in central Kashmir but there was no untoward incident, the officials added. All the educational institutes shall remain closed in Kashmir Division on the account of Shab-e-Me’raj holiday.
Meanwhile, Education Minister Syed Altaf Bukhari said the Government has taken “strong note of outsiders entering SP School and disrupting academic activities”. “All the colleges and higher secondary schools resumed their class work peacefully today while at Srinagar’s SP school some outsiders entered inside the school premises and provoked students to take to streets,” he said.
The Minister said to prevent outsiders from entering into educational institutes, police and security forces will be deployed on the Bund side of SP College to keep eye on those who try to disrupt academic atmosphere in schools and colleges. “We have taken a strong note of outsiders disrupting academic activities in educational institutes. These outsiders will be identified and action will be taken against them,” he said, adding the students “must cooperate to nab these outsiders”.
The Education Minister also appealed students to bring their identity cards with them and help the authorities “in identifying the miscreants who are sabotaging their education”. “I also appeal parents to cooperate with the Government to help achieve academic excellence of their children,” he said.


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