Kashmiri students clash with Indian government forces near a college in central Srinagar’s Lal Chowk on April 17, 2017. Violence erupted in Srinagar April 17 as students staged a protest after more than 60 students were injured in clashes with Indian security forces at a college in the district of Pulawama last week. PHOTO: Tauseef MUSTAFA / AFP
Hundreds of students clashed with government forces in Indian Kashmir during protests Monday against a police raid on a college, as tensions ran high in the restive region.
Around 100 students were injured as 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 police office told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Indian-administered Kashmir has been tense since April 9, when eight people were killed by police and paramilitary troops during election day violence.
On Saturday a street vendor was shot dead by India’s Border Security Force and on Sunday three people were killed by suspected rebels, one a former counter-insurgent.
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 rebels fighting Indian rule and government forces have become more frequent since the killing of a popular rebel 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.