Mid-night raids trigger student protests in Pulwama; six youth behind bars, say police

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“They (students) don’t carry books. Their bags remain filled with ‘niqaab’ (scarves), flags and ‘pheran’.”

Srinagar: At least six youth, which include students as well, have been arrested by police in Pulwama district during mid-night raids.

The detention of youth triggered massive student protests in main town of the district on Tuesday which resulted in massive clashes between students and forces.

Early this morning, hundreds of students from Government Higher Secondary School staged a sit-in protest in main Chowk Pulwama.

The incident, said a student Rahil (name changed), happened “in reaction to actions” of armed forces. “Several youth have been detained in night raids,” he said.

“The Higher Secondary School students did not attend their class work but marched to main Chowk Pulwama and sat in main town Pulwama forming a big circle resulting in huge traffic jam,” the student informed the FreePressKashmir over phone.

The Kashmir valley is witnessing student protests since April 15 when Indian army men forced their entry in Government Degree College Pulwama which angered students thus resulting in clashes.

Many students were injured in the forces action triggering rage amongst student community of Valley with banned Kashmir University Students Union (KUSU) calling for valley-wide protests.

However, the KUSU later asked the students to resume the class work but the protests refuse to stop.

“a cop, in civvies, was stopped by protesting students. He was riding a motor-cycle which was set ablaze by the protestors”

“Early this morning parents of a student reached the Higher Secondary School and pleaded with the authorities to get their son released from police lock up,” a student wishing to remain anonymous said.

The student was arrested in a night raid during the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday. “When students came to know about this incident they came out holding protests and marched outside the school campus.”

The peaceful protests turned violent “when forces reached the spot” and asked them to return to classrooms. “But the students were adamant and sought immediate release of detained youth,” the student said. “Soon stone pelting and tear gas shelling started.”

A shopkeeper, eye witness to clashes in main Chowk Pulwama, said, “a cop, in civvies, was stopped by protesting students. He was riding a motor-cycle which was set ablaze by the protestors.”

A cop from police station Pulwama told the FreePressKashmir over phone, “a motor-cycle borne cop was stopped by protestors but he fled the spot unhurt. The protestors have damaged his bike.”

The cop said, “at least thirty two students have been detained by police but were released after proper counselling. Currently, six youth have been detained in police station Pulwama.”

“They (students) don’t carry books,” said an angry cop overlooking the security situation in Pulwama district. “Their bags remain filled with ‘niqaab’ (scarves), flags and ‘pheran’.”

In Srinagar, University of Kashmir witnessed massive protests by students who sought immediate release of a journalism student who has been booked under Public Safety Act (PSA). They later dispersed off peacefully asking varsity authorities to look in to the matter within three days else they “will launch an indefinite strike”.

Neither Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK) nor Chief Education Officer (CEO) Pulwama was available for their comments. “Director (School education Kashmir) is not present in the office as he is attending a meeting,” an official from DSEK Srinagar said while as the cell number of CEO Pulwama available on DSEK website is not working.

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