Thu Dec 14 2017, 3:43:52 +03

Indian forces injure at least 100 students in occupied Kashmir, brutality continue

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(Srinagar-AlummahWorld-Rajab 20,1438H) Hundreds of students reportedly clashed with government forces in Indian-occupied Kashmir during protests Monday against a police raid on a college, as tensions ran high in the restive region.

According to local reports, at least 100 students were injured as Indian police used batons and tear gas to try to quell the protests, which broke out in the main city of Srinagar before spreading to other parts of the Kashmir valley.

Teenagers in school uniform and women students wearing white headscarves were among the protesters, who chanted anti-India slogans and threw stones at government forces.

A student union had called for protests after police on Saturday tried to raid a college in the southern district of Pulwama to round up suspects in recent violent demonstrations, sparking clashes in which at least 60 students were injured.

“Students are protesting in a few colleges. We are dealing with a situation,” a senior Indian police office told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Indian-held Kashmir has been tense since April 9, when eight people were killed by police and paramilitary troops during election day violence.

Footage apparently showing a civilian tied to the front of an army jeep to deter protesters from throwing stones at the vehicle has also caused outrage after it was circulated on social media last week.

The army has launched an investigation into the incident and police have registered a case although no arrests have yet been made.

The Kashmir University Students Union, a banned student body, had called for protests in all colleges and universities following Saturday's incident.

Government forces are not supposed to enter college or university premises without special permission, and on Saturday, the union said the police action was designed to help the state “rule by repression and fear”.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British rule in 1947. Both claim the territory in its entirety.

Armed encounters between separatists fighting Indian rule and government forces have become more frequent since the killing of a popular separatist leader by security forces last July sparked widespread unrest. Police and army officials say dozens of local youths have joined the rebel ranks since then.

Last week, a video circulating on social media of a Kashmiri man tied to the bonnet of what was believed to be an Indian Army jeep as a human shield once again raised concerns over the violation of human rights by Indian armed forces in occupied Kashmir. 

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted the video, noting that: "A warning can be heard saying that stone pelters [in held Kashmir] will meet this fate. This requires an urgent inquiry and follow up now."

The video footage shows a man tied to the front of the vehicle in an upright seated, hands and legs bound, as the vehicle drives through the streets blaring Indian armed forces propaganda. 

Abdullah expressed his outrage at the incident in a series of tweets, exclaiming how a lack of action about the Kashmiri youth's handling frustrated him.

"I understand the outrage the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) video generated. I'm also outraged that the video of the youth on the jeep won't generate the same anger," he said, referring to the reaction incited by a recent video of an Indian soldier being slapped by Kashmiri protestors which was shared widely in Indian media.

In the latest surge of violence in India-held Kashmir, at least six people were killed and more than two dozen injured on April 9, when police clashed with protesters during a by-election in Srinagar in India-held Kashmir region.

 

Suspected separatist factions in Kashmir had called for a boycott of the vote, resulting in heightened security and low voter turnout when the polling began.