Situation worsens in Kashmir, youth killed

Srinagar: A youth was killed after security forces allegedly opened fire in Batmaloo in Srinagar on the evening of April 15. The youth, identified as Sajad Hussain Sheikh of Chandoosa Baramulla in north Kashmir (presently living in Batamalo), was killed as he was walking on the road. The matter is being investigated by the police.

Clashes erupted in south Kashmir on April 15 afternoon between students of Government Degree College Pulwama and security forces the moment two police vehicles reportedly stopped at the gate of the college. This provoked the students. The students, according to local news agency, KNS, hooted at police, who in return abused them. “As more students gathered, police fired teargas shells into the college premises.The students started pelting stones and security forces fired teargas shells and pellets.”

Chaos prevailed outside the college and more than 40 students, including girls, reportedly sustained injuries in the clashes. As soon as the news spread, life came to a standstill in the town with markets and streets presenting deserted looks.

Prof Abdul Hamid Sheikh, principal of the college, told KNS that security forces created complete chaos. “I saw students suddenly rushing towards the college gate. I too rushed towards the gate and saw two police vehicles (rakshaks) entering into the college. I stood in front of the vehicles and pleaded, with folded hands, to the policemen not to enter into the premises since the tempers were high among students following the entry of an army vehicle into the college the other day. I told the policemen that 5,000 students are in the college and the situation would turn bad. However, the policemen did not listen to my pleas and went ahead into the college. Suddenly, angry students shouted slogans and the policemen fired teargas shells at them. Mayhem and chaos erupted into the college. Many girl students fainted, and a number of boys were injured due to teargas shells and also pellets guns. As more policemen rushed into the college, nobody was spared.”

However, the police in its statement said that a normal naka was established around 200 meters away from the College. “As classwork ended, some miscreants started pelting stones at the naka party. To handle the stone-pelting, reinforcement was rushed to the spot. The mob swelled as more students joined and pelted stones at the forces. Some miscreants and police personnel were injured. One was referred to a Srinagar hospital where his condition is stable.”

Meanwhile, Dukhtaran-e-Millat chairperson, Syedah Aasiyeh Andrabi, in a statement here on April 15 said that after failing to force Kashmiris into participating in the election process, forces have now started to brutalise Kashmiri youth within the educational institutions.Andrabi said that the forces along with police jointly had set up a naka outside Degree College Pulwama and were waiting for the students to come out so that they (students) cuold be arrested. “The forces have unleashed a wave of arrests across Kashmir and wherever and whenever they get a chance, they bundle dozens of our children.” She further added that on Saturday afternoon a forces’ vehicle tried to enter the college campus. “The youth studying there resented this move and started protesting. Within no time, these forces started raining pellets and teargas shells on these innocent students, injuring as many 60 of them including scores of female students.”

Meanwhile, separatists here have called for a shutdown on Sunday against the killing of youth in Batamaloo.

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