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Kashmir tense after students stage protests; colleges, universities closed

 In what could add fire to the already tense situation in Kashmir, the student community in Valley has turned against the Mehbooba Mufti government and staged protests on Monday against the security forces for conducting raid on college and beating youth. They engaged in intense clashes with the security men across the Valley during which scores of students’ sustained injuries.
The students of SP College in city centre Lal Chowk boycotted classes and came out of college premises this morning and tried to stage a protest march against Saturday’s raid on a Degree College Pulwama by security forces in which 50 students were injured.
“We want to lodge our protest against the forces raid on a college and beating and injuring of students. How has Mehbooba government allowed security men to barge into a college and use force on students in its premises,” said the protesting students, who were staging anti-government, anti-Mehbooba and pro-freedom slogans.
As they reached Maulana Azad Road, they were intercepted by police and CRPF men, who fired dozens of tear smoke shells and resorted to heavy baton charge to disperse the students, who retaliated by hurling stones on them.
Due to the clashes, the traffic movement on Maulana Azad Road was halted, causing traffic jams in the city centre.
The cops cleared the students from the road and pushed them back to the college, where the clashes between the two sides continued till afternoon.
The female students of Government Women’s College Srinagar also tried to take out protest march.  They too were intercepted by the cops, who fired tear gas and pepper gas shells to disperse them.
The students also staged protests in other colleges in Srinagar. They also protested in Pattan, Sopore, Baramulla, Handwara, Kupwara, Bandipora in North Kashmir, Ganderbal and Budgam in Central Kashmir and Shopian, Kulgam, Anantnag, Tral and Pulwama in South Kashmir.
During the protests, the students clashed with the police and paramilitary personnel and pelted stones on them. The cops in retaliation fired tear smoke shells to disperse them.
Many students sustained injuries in police action across the Valley.
The call for protests was given by J&K Students Union to protest against the security forces raid on a college in South Kashmir and beating of students and youth by security men.
Educational institutions closed
After the day students’ protests, the government ordered closure of all universities, colleges and higher secondary schools in Kashmir tomorrow.
“All the universities, Higher Secondary Schools and colleges shall remain closed tomorrow as a precautionary measure,” an official said.
A spokesman of Kashmir University said all university examinations scheduled for tomorrow have been postponed.
He said fresh dates for the deferred examinations shall be notified later.
Mobile internet, broadband services suspended
Authorities suspended mobile internet and broadband services in the Valley in the afternoon.
Sources said police has directed telecom companies operating in Valley to stop providing mobile internet services to its subscribers in the Valley.
They said police has taken the action after several videos surfaced in which security men were shown beating and humiliating the Kashmiri youth. At least two videos have also been shot by militants also. In the videos, a PDP leader and a trader seek forgiveness and announce disassociation from mainstream politics on gunpoint.

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