Jammu & Kashmir: Kashmir University shut after police, students clash

26th Jun 2015
Jammu & Kashmir: Kashmir University shut after police, students clash

[Photo: Indian paramilitary soldiers stand guard on a deserted street during a curfew in Srinagar, Kashmir on December 8, 2014. Photographer: Ahmer Khan]

 

By Shazia Yousuf

SRINAGAR, Indian-held Kashmir, (AA): Police in the Indian-held Kashmir on Thursday stormed Kashmir University and used aerial fire to disperse a student protest.

The police clashes with the students, who were protesting the earlier arrest of a student activist, led to the university being shut for two days and those living in student accommodation being told to vacate.

The University of Kashmir, the oldest in Indian-held Kashmir, in the capital Srinagar, has been tense since Monday when Indian police arrested Masters student Muzamil Farooq.

His arrest came after the students protested against the International Yoga Day events organized in Kashmir and around India, which students said were a “political and cultural imposition on the Muslims by the right-wing Hindutva government in India”.

While students say Farooq was arrested for leading the anti-Yoga day protests at the university, the Indian police say he is being investigated for links with pro-Independence militant outfits.

There have been protests at the university since Tuesday, but on Thursday more than a 1,000 students from all the departments gathered outside the Vice Chancellor’s office to demand Farooq’s release.

“We have tried speaking to all the authorities in the police but we cannot just get him released. The police are saying that they are investigating his case but the students are angry at the arrest. Today there was a massive protest where they shouted all anti-India slogans and which later turned violent,” Dr. Naseer Iqbal, the Chief Proctor of the Kashmir University, told Anadolu Agency.

“In view of that we have suspended classwork on Saturday and Sunday and have also ordered the students putting up at the hostels to vacate the campus,” he said.

The students claimed however that the clashes broke out only after police rushed in from all sides and attacked the students.

“The police opened aerial fire and used teargas shells on the protesting students. They beat us up, which further angered all of us and then the clashes started,” Sameer Yaqoob, a student at the university, told Anadolu Agency.

The Indian governor in Kashmir, who performs a supervisory role in the state, also heads the university, serving as its Chancellor while the elected Jammu & Kashmir state Chief Minister is his deputy.

The university authorities have banned all kinds of political activity at the campus.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full.

The two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — since they were partitioned in 1947, two of which were over Kashmir.

Since 1989, Kashmiri resistance groups in Indian-held Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or for unification with neighboring Pakistan. India maintains over half a million soldiers in the Indian-held Kashmir.

A part of Kashmir is also held by China.

 

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