by Umar Khurshid
Srinagar: Student protests against Kathua rape and murder incident continue to rock Kashmir Valley even as authorities had ordered the closure of some colleges but at different places clashes between students and government forces turned violent particularly in Kashmir’s south part.
In Pulwama, a large number of students from Degree College and Boys Higher Secondary School Pulwama town hit to roads and carried out a march among intense sloganeering.
The students including female students shouted pro-freedom, anti-government and pro-Pakistani slogans outside Police Station Pulwama and demanded punishment for the guilty.
Reports said that as the government forces prevented students from moving towards the main town, the agitated students pelted them with stones and forces retaliated with tear gas shelling.
The shopkeepers closed their shops and within minutes the town turned into a battleground.
Hospital sources said that over a dozen youth suffered injuries in which five received pellets in their eyes.
Reports from Islamic University of Sciences and Technology Awantipora said that clashes turned violent when students clashed with government forces.
Reports said that many students have sustained injuries during the clashes with police forces, adding that student hit to Srinagar-Jammu highway shouting pro-freedom and anti-BJP slogans.
As the police tried to push protesting students back to Varsity, the students according to a police official resorted to massive stone-pelting resulting in injuries to two policemen.
The students alleged that the policemen barged inside the varsity and damaged the vehicles parked inside. Following the clashes, IUST management suspended the class work.
Reports from tral town said that many students sustained injuries during the clashes. Both male and female students from Degree College Tral carried out a march in the town. Police swung into action and when they tried to disperse them, the students resorted to stone-pelting. Students alleged that government lobbed tear-smoke shells inside the college as a result couple of female students fainted and several male students were injured.
In Islamabad, at least 15 students were injured as protests over justice for minor Kathua girl turned violent.
Reports said that students carrying banners assembled at KP road and took out a protest march seeking justice for Asia.
Soon clashes between forces and students erupted leading to the closure of shops and other business establishments in the town. Police used tear gas shells and baton charged the protesting students, leading to injuries to 15 of them, they said.
Reports from Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal said that students of Degree College boycotted their classes and staged a Protest against gruesome Kathua rape and murder incident.
The students assembled in the premises of the college and held protests, demanding death to the culprits.
Chanting slogans to demand to hang the culprits, the students came out of the college premises and staged a sit-in on Ganderbal-Shalbigh road.
Police swung into action and chased away protesting students who retaliated with stones. The clashes between police and students disrupted vehicular movement for hours.
Students hold a protest in Magam, Badgam area of Central Kashmir. Reports said that hundreds of student took to roads and chanted pro-freedom and pro-Asifa slogans. A couple of student pelted stones on deployed forces, however, police exercised restraint and didn’t retaliate.
Clashes also erupted in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district where students pelted stones on deployed forces. Reports said that students from Government Degree College, Girls Higher Secondary School and ITI Kulgam hit roads demanding justice for 8-year-old girl Asifa. Police stopped them from proceeding towards the main town. The agitated students pelted stones while Forces lobbed tear-smoke shells to disperse them.
In Bandipora, a large number of students from Degree College and Higher Secondary School Sumbal carried out a march seeking capital punishment for rapists and stringent action against those who defend them.
Peaceful protests were also held at Kashmir University Hazratbal, Srinagar, Lal Nagar Chanapora, Nowshera Soura, ITI Tral, Higher Secondary School Shalimar, Boys Higher Secondary School Barzulluah, B Ed College Srinagar, Degree College Uri, Higher Secondary School Uri, Middle school Sumbal, Higher Secondary School Sumbal, Islamia College Hawal, Srinagar, Higher Secondary School Hadipora, Kakpora Degree College Bohipora Kupwara, Higher Secondary School Ganderbal, Womens College Nowpora Sopore, Higher Secondary School Wathoora, Higher Secondary School Dangiwachi , Boys Higher Secondary Pampore and Girls Higher Secondary School Ganderbal.
Protests demanding justice to the eight-year-old girl and severe punishment to the accused in her rape and murder were also received in Poonch, Rajouri, Banihal, Doda and other parts of the Jammu region.
As the horrors of the Kathua rape case are being reported, a number of film personalities are among those who’ve joined the campaign to get justice for Asifa, the slain eight-year-old victim.
Holding up placards that read out messages expressing their deep sorrow over the Kathua case, celebrities all over the world have expressed their resentment over the issue.
Earlier on Wednesday, b-Town actress, Alia Bhatt said she is heartbroken and angry over the incident. Several Bollywood celebrities have reacted angrily to the incidents and have demanded justice for the victims of the Kathua, Unnao and Surat rape cases that have generated a massive outrage against the perpetrators.
Alia said it isn’t only people from Bollywood who are upset but there is anger at a humanitarian level over the incident. “I don’t think only people in Bollywood are upset, I think all over the country people are upset, on a humanitarian level there is anger. It is a disgraceful, shameful and terrible thing that’s happened,” Alia said. “As a girl, as a woman, as a human being and as a part of the country, I feel very bad and hurt that something like this has happened.”
On January 17, the body of a minor girl was found in the forests near Rasana, Hiranagar. The girl had been missing for a week. According to police, she had been abducted and raped by an SPO Deepak Khajuria, who was a part of the team sent out to find her when she was missing.
A couple from Himachal Pradesh holding placard demands justice in Asifa’s rape and murder case.
Nine accused, including the alleged mastermind Sanji Ram – an ex-bureaucrat – and his son Vishal Kumar, a police head constable, two SPOs and a sub-inspector of police, have been arrested in the case.