Kashmiri students clash with CRPF; demanding vacation of school building

By S A Nazki, NAK

Mendhar : A violent clash broke out between Central Reserve Police (CRPF) personnel and students of a government high secondary school – following a protest demonstration by the students demanding immediate vacation of the school building – in Mendhar tehsil of Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district on Friday morning.

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At least 25 students and a teacher besides five CRPF personnel were injured in a violent clash between CRPF personnel and students in Harni village, about 7 kilometers from here.

CRPF personnel allegedly barged inside the class rooms and thrashed several students and teachers for holding protest demonstration outside the school building, Ghulam Rasool one of the eyewitness told News Agency of Kashmir adding, the troopers even fired several rounds in air within the premises of school building.

Giving details, sources said students of Government High Secondary School Harni assembled outside the school, after morning prayers, and staged a strong demonstration demanding immediate vacation of the school building occupied by the CRPF’s 184 battalion.

Sources said that the protesting students raised anti-CRPF and anti-government slogans, which agitated the troopers.

The CRPF personnel reportedly resorted to lathicharge and fired several rounds in air in retaliation, reports reaching here revealed.

However, a senior police officer claimed that CRPF personnel resorted to buttan charge after students went berserk and started pelting stones on the CRPF personnel housed inside the school building.

At least 31 persons including Company commander of CRPF battalion, 4 jawans, 25 students and a teacher were injured in the clash, which continued for more than two hours, sources told NAK.

Ten students and a teacher received critical injuries and were shifted to Sub District Hospital Mendhar, later this afternoon.

The injured, undergoing treatment at Mendhar hospital, have been identified as Fozia Akhtar, Tanveer Ahmed, Nadeem Tahir, Vikar Younis, Riyaz Ahmed, Sonia Nusrat, Nayeem Akhtar, Zaheen Kouser, Shaheen Akhtar and Muhammad Shakoor Khan (teacher).

One of the injured Fozia Akhtar told News Agency of Kashmir that the school building comprised of eleven room, out of which three rooms are being used by school authorities while rest were under the occupation of the troopers.

The injured teacher, Muhammad Shakoor Khan, said that it was has become almost impossible for them to run a high school in three rooms.

Sources said that Deputy Commissioner Poonch had earlier ordered CRPF for the vacation of the school building but SHO Mendhar Surjeet Singh Slathia and civil authorities failed to proceed with the directions.

In the meanwhile, large number of people also took out a protest demonstration in the village after Friday prayers and demanding action against the troopers. However, protestors were pacified by SDPO Mendhar Sanjay Raina and Tehsildar MH Shah who reached the spot and assured early vacation of school building.