Bandipora rape case: Student protests escalate across Kashmir; govt shuts down schools, colleges to curb unrest

kashmir protest

Srinagar, May 14: Student protests against rape of three-year-old minor girl in Bandipora district continue to rock Kashmir Valley on Tuesday, even as authorities had ordered the closure of some colleges but at different places clashes between Students and government forces turned violent particularly in Srinagar city.

In Srinagar, a large number of students from Amar Singh College on Tuesday hit to roads and carried out a march with intense sloganeering.

The students including female students shouted pro-freedom, anti-government slogans outside the college gate and demanded punishment for the guilty.

“Had the government delivered justice in previous rape cases, we wouldn’t have witnessed this gruesome crime. They ( Authorities) should hang their heads in shame,” a student at Amar Singh College told Counter Currents .

Eye witnesses told Counter Currents that, as the government forces prevented students from moving towards the main road outside the Amar Singh College, the forces retaliated with tear gas shelling to disperse the protesting students.

The shopkeepers closed their shops and within minutes the the road heading towards LD side turned into a battleground.

Across the Valley on Tuesday, people, including girls and the elderly, poured out onto the streets, demanding strict action against the culprit and a speedy trial.

In Kashmir University, a students body Kashmir University Students Union (KUSU), also took out a protest rally in against the rape of 3-year-old girl, the protesting students carried banners and placards that read “Hang the Culprit”, “Save Daughters”, “End Rape Culture”.

The protesting students said they will continue their protest until the culprit is punished. “Our protest will turn any time violent if the action will not be taken. We want the government to hang the culprit in public,” said an angry protester.

The agitation on the streets is a repeat of the situation in last years when students took to the streets in almost all parts of the Valley and the state government was forced to shut schools for days altogether.

Back then, the students were protesting the excessive use of force on students at a degree college in Pulwama. This time, the spark has been lit by Bandipora rape incident.

Earlier, the state government, conscious of the fallout of fighting students on the streets, understood the trick and closed down educational institutions in some parts of the valley .

Sources inside the government administration said the state government would ensure that the trial of the Bandipora rape accused is fast-tracked and said if the agitation of students continues the administration has no other choice but to shut down all the educational institutions, which would take a toll on their academic calendar.

“To deal with student protests and stone pelting incidents after any untoward incident involving civilians, the government must think up a strategy other than shutting down educational institutions, which is tantamount to a willful denial of education to the traumatised children of Kashmir,” said Aqib Channa, a student of Journalism.

While as, Kashmir has been hit by a wave of student protests in recent years and the state police has been forced to take a back step while dealing with them, with books in one hand and stones in the other. The students in uniform carried out protests peacefully initially but when confronted by forces they threw stones.

Pertinently, it is worth to mention here that, on the evening of May 8 (Wednesday), the 3-year-old girl, according to her family, was walking back home when a young local resident reportedly lured her away with some chewing gum.

The boy allegedly took the girl to a nearby toilet , where, the family says, he raped her.

The police has arrested the accused, who has been identified as 20-year-old Tahir Ahmad of Mir.

Earlier, on Monday, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan appealed the people to maintain the peace. He assured fast track investigation into the case.

“Action will be taken against the accused as per law,” he said. “I am monitoring the case and the governor has also ordered a time-bound enquiry.”

Mir Suhail is a journalist


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