Home Indian Muslim After civilians, students become the new target of security forces in Kashmir

After civilians, students become the new target of security forces in Kashmir

By Raqib Hameed Naik, Twocircles.net

Srinagar: The deaths and destruction continue unabated in Kashmir even nine months after the death of militant commander Burhan Wani. The protests, and the subsequent violence which started in July last year, have continued since and the recent deaths of eight people in a single day shows that the Valley is far from reaching a state of normalcy. But this time, it is not just civilians who are out in the street.

It is for the very first time in over a decade that thousands of students both boys and girls across the Valley took to streets, shoulder to shoulder to protest against the “arbitrary” and “brute” use of force on their fellow students of Degree college Pulwama by the security forces on Saturday, April 15.

According to students of Degree College Pulwama, the forces had laid a checkpoint outside the campus and tried to enter the college premises to which the students objected.

“The students held demonstration inside the campus against the presence of forces outside the college. Suddenly the forces started tear gas shelling on the students and the students retaliated with the stones,” a student of Degree college Pulwama, who wished not to be named told TCN.

This was first time in the history of campus protest in India that pellet guns were used on students. In the melee, 54 students including 12 girls were left injured by pellets, tear gas shells and Pava grenades.

The incident had sent shockwaves across the student community in the Valley. The students reacted by thronging the streets in solidarity with Pulwama students on Monday, April 17, but as the norm goes, security forces again curbed the protest with iron fist.

From SP college in Srinagar; Degree college Sopore; Degree College, Ganderbal; Kashmir University; and Degree college Shopian, thousands of students tried to protest, but either the students were tear gassed even when they tried to assemble in campus or cane charged when they tried to march outside the college campuses.

“There is no such thing as peaceful protest in Kashmir. Police never allows protests here. If they would have allowed students to register their protest, then all would have been normal. But they used tear gas shells and inflicted injuries on students,”said Samiullah Khan, a student of economics in Kashmir University.

Another student, Burhan Amin of Gandhi Memorial college Srinagar said, “These provocations by forces lead to big unrests. Colleges are places of learning and using force is attempt to strangle our right to protest. Besides, the use of harsh force is common on normal protest but using it with same intensity on students is something about which we all should be concerned.”

As the day passed, more than 70 students were admitted in different hospitals. A girl named Iqra was severely injured as a stone allegedly thrown by security forces hit her leading to fracture in her skull.

The government has responded by closing all the higher educational institutes on Tuesday April 18. As usual, internet has also been blocked in the Valley.

The anger among the people in the Valley against the current government and security forces seem attaining new heights as repeated incidents of security forces excesses are coming to fore. Four to six videos which were shot in between April 9th to 15th showing brute use of force by security forces are making rounds of social networking websites.

On Tuesday April 18th, the student protest spread outside the Kashmir, a CRPF personnel were accused of beating few students in Chreel village of Banihal. Hundreds of student from schools and colleges blocked the highway demoing action against the security forces.

In the backdrop of already volatile situation in Kashmir, developed first after killing of more the 90 persons in 2016 and eight new deaths on April 9th, the students protests and the unbridled use of force by the state makes the chances of seeing a peaceful summer all the more bleak.