Over 20 people mostly girls were injured as students clashed with police in North Kashmir’s Handwara town on Saturday. Reports said that the clashes were triggered after Handwara’s government degree college students gathered on campus to protest against alleged security forces’ highhandedness and arrests of students over last three weeks. The students hoisted a green flag atop the college’s administrative block amid ‘azaadi’ slogans.
Later, Handwara higher secondary school students joined the protest. They tried to march towards the town’s main square, prompting police to resort to teargas shelling and lathi charge to disperse them. The clashes continued throughout the day.
“One girl was hit in her head. She was given treatment and is now stable,’’ Handwara chief medical officer Dr Zakir told The Sunday Express. He added that 25 injured students were brought to hospitals.
Handwara Higher Secondary School principal Ali Mohammad Bhat said that classes were going on smoothly at the institute until suddenly at 1pm someone threw some stones. “Then there was indiscriminate shelling. Our students fell unconscious due to smoke.”
Handwara SP Ghulam Jeelani Wani said that students resorted to stone throwing. “Our two DSPs and an SHO were injured and a girl was hit by a stone not by a shell.”
Student protests were reported from Pulwama over alleged security forces highhandedness and students arrests. Reports said that students blocked Srinagar-Pulwama road for over six hours. In Newa, students took to the streets. “There was a confrontation between students and troopers at CRPF camp. The troopers used tear smoke shells to disperse students, while they (students) threw stones back,” said a Newa resident.