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Student protests for Kathua girl turn violent; cops among injured

Srinagar, Apr 18: The students for the third consecutive day on Wednesday continued to protest against the rape and murder of a minor Kathua girl in January this year in Rassana area of Hiranagar district of Jammu region.
The student protests turned violent in many areas of Anantnag, Tral, Baramulla and Srinagar.
The day began with protests in KP road area of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
The students during the protest chanted slogans in favour of the minor victim and demanded stern action against the culprits.
Witnesses said that the students also pelted stones on forces during the protest, resulting in clashes between them and government forces.
They said that at least 15 students mostly girls sustained injuries during the clashes in Anantnag who were shifted to District Hospital Anantnag for treatment.
The clashes later spread to nearby areas Lal chowk and Janglat mandi during which forces used tear smoke shells to disperse them.
The clashes also led to the closure of shops and other business establishments in the town.
Medical Superintendent of DH Anantnag, Dr Majid Mirab, as per news agency Kashmir News Service, said the hospital received 15 injured people.
“All the injured were treated in the hospital while one among them was shifted to Srinagar’s Bone and Joint hospital for specialized treatment,” he added.
Reports said that the clashes between students and forces also took place in Tral area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district during which students of Government Degree College pelted stones on forces who is retaliation used tear gas canisters to disperse them.
Scores of people also sustained injuries during the incident, witnesses said.
Meanwhile, two police officers sustained injured during the clashes that reported between students of Islamic University of Sciences and Technology (IUST) Awantipora and forces on Wednesday.
The students of IUST held a protest to exhibit solidarity with Kathua minor girl.
Reports said that police swung into action after the students of the varsity staged protests on the Srinagar-Jammu highway at Awantipora, triggering clashes.
Officials said that the forces used tear gas canisters to disperse the students who were pelting stones on forces.
They said that two officials including SDPO and SHO Awantipora got injured who were rushed to a hospital for treatment.
Following the clashes, IUST management suspended the class work.
In north Kashmir’s Bandipora area, clashes erupted between students of Boys Degree College Baramulla and forces after they staged protests against the rape-and-murder of Kathua girl.
Reports quoting eye witnesses said that police lobbed scores of tear gas shells to disperse the protesting students, triggering clashes.
They said that the students were holding a protest inside the college premises when tear gas was fired. The students raised slogans during the protest.
In Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, the students of Degree College Ganderbal boycotted their classes and staged protest against the Kathua rape-and-murder.
The students assembled in the premises of the college and held protests, demanding apital punishment to the culprits.
Amid anti-culprits sloganeering, the students came out of the college premises and held sit-in on Ganderbal-Shalbigh road.
In Srinagar, the law students assembled at Srinagar’s Pratap Park to protest in solidarity with the Kathua girl.
The law students including boys and girls chanted slogans in favour of justice for Kathua victim.
The students while holding placards reading slogans in favour of the victim and against the culprits, demanded stern action against the culprits.
The students said that the culprits should be hanged till death.
Besides students, the lawyers and civil society members also held a protest in favour of the victim girl at Srinagar’s Pratap Park.
The lawyers also held a signature campaign in favour of the minor girl in which lawyers as well the civil society members participated.
Meanwhile, police spokesman in a statement issued to KNS said that two policemen and two protesters were injured after peaceful protest demonstration turned violent in Anantnag in South Kashmir.
“A peaceful protest was taken out at Anantnag which was allowed by police and district administration. Subsequently some miscreants indulged in stone pelting and turned violent and tried to enforce forceful shutdown in Anantnag town. In the said incident 2 police personnel and 2 miscreants received injuries when they were hit by stones. All of them are stated to be stable,” police spokesman said.
The statement further said that in another incident at Pulwama, while municipal committee Pulwama was busy in anti–encroachment drive, the demolition drive was pelted upon to disrupt the process. Police party reached the spot and subsequently dispersed the miscreants. No injuries were reported in this incident.
“In Awantipora miscreants tried to block main road but due to timely intervention of local police, the situation was handled and no street vandalism could take place”, the statement reads. “The situation has been brought under control in all these locations,” spokesman added.
The campaign for justice for the eight-year-old victim of Kathua rape and murder case is gaining momentum across Kashmir with students and people holding protest marches across the length and breadth of the valley.
A group of lawyers, civil society members and people from other walks of life also held a protest rally at Pratap Park here, demanding death penalty for the persons involved in the rape and murder of the minor girl in January this year.
They also demanded setting up of a fast-track court for speedy delivery of justice in the case.
A massive rally was taken out by students in Uri town — near the Line of Control — in Baramulla district in support of the victim, reports reaching here said.
Many passenger vehicles, including autorickshaws, have put up placards in front of the windscreens, demanding justice for the victim girl.
A large number of private cars and motorcycles also have posters, making the same demand. Business establishments have also put up similar placards on their premises.
In the virtual world, an online petition to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was started last month to demand justice for the victim.
“Big thank you to all! We are over 1.6 million. This is our silver lining. There are more people who are willing to side with justice than with hate. We, women from J&K, had started a petition to @MehboobaMufti over one month ago seeking Justice for the vicitm of Kathua case,” JNU scholar Shehla Rashid said in a post on social networking site.
“It has gone on to become the biggest ever Indian petition on change.org, with over 15 lakh signatures!!” she added.
The demand for justice can be seen on thousands of Facebook pages, in Whatsapp messages and statuses and in tweets as well.