Police earn rare praise for saving the situation in Kashmir

Hundreds of stone-hurling students clashed with Indian police in India-administered Kashmir on Monday while police fired live rounds.

Twenty-four people, including 12 security personnel, were injured today in clashes between stone-pelting students and law enforcing agencies in the heart of Srinagar, on a day colleges reopened in Kashmir after a five-day shutdown ordered by the government.

Among the injured were Senior Superintendent of Police (Srinagar) Imtiyaz Hussain Parray and Superintendent of Police Sheikh Faisal, a police officer said.

An Indian police man throws stones at protesters supporting students as they clash in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Monday, April 24, 2017. Water cannons and tear smoke shells were used to disperse the students.

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In a separate incident, an official with the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) was shot by unknown attackers, later dying of his injuries, a police officer told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The girl students also staged a massive protest on the road raising pro-freedom slogans. Authorities responded by closing colleges, universities and some high schools for a week, but the protests continued unabated.

"We didn't allow the CRPF to face the protesters because they were more likely to cause casualties", he said. A police control room official said that students had come out on the roads and security forces retaliated to quell the protests. "The police showed utmost restraint", he said. In the morning, students from S P College and S P Higher Secondary Institute tried to take out a march on Maulana Azad Road, one of the two main arteries of Srinagar city.

Students in Pulwama college were protesting against establishing a naka near the college main gate by security forces, who later burst teargas shells, fired pellets and resorted to lathicharge in which over 60 students were injured.

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Eyewitnesses recounted that students from the SP College climbed up the walls of the nearby women's college and started targeting security personnel with stones.

Some students spoke against the stone-pelters, saying they want to study, but some disturbing elemnents are unnecessarily creating chaos. The hard-pressed Mufti invoked former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to persuade Modi to resume the dialogue process in order to achieve peace.

Rebel groups have been fighting government forces since 1989 and about 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and subsequent Indian military crackdown. Since their independence from Britain, the two countries have fought three wars, two exclusively over Kashmir.

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  • Ryan Wade