Anti-police protests rock Ganderbal, dozens injured

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Sheikh Junaid
Ganderbal, May 18: Violence raged in this Central Kashmir Town after Degree College Students staged anti-police protests against alleged police atrocities with them while the violence resulted in injuries to dozens of students and police cops.
The students told news agency GNS that as usual they were on way to their college in a passenger bus which was jam packed. “When the bus reached near Kher Bhawani police station, the police personnel there stopped it and asked driver why he has resorted to overloading. We simply told the policemen that we are getting late and urged them to leave the driver without any challan. This however didn’t go well with the cops and they started to beat us,” the students said.
The students alleged that not only cops beat them but their uniform was torn while the police personnel misbehaved with their female colleagues. “The behavior of the police personnel was highly objective and rude,” they said. The alleged police atrocities angered the students and they started protest against the police.
Eyewitnesses told GNS that the students in a procession marched towards Qamaria Chowk in the Town where students from Degree College and other schools joined them. Amid massive sloganeering the students condemned the police action and demanded punishment to “policemen involved in the atrocities on them”.
As the protests grew strong, police and civil Administration including Deputy Commissioner Ganderbal rushed to the spot and tried to pacify the students. However the students continued their protest and began their March towards Behama. But the police personnel stopped the students and resorted to baton charge which further angered the students who resorted to massive stone-pelting on cops, ensuing violent clashes.
The police retaliated by firing dozens of tear smoke shells towards the students who were raining stones on cops. Caught in the midst of the clashes and teargas shelling, around 20 female students fell unconscious and were removed to Ganderbal hospital. Besides, scores of other boys sustained minor injuries. A police official told GNS that 8 cops including SHO Ganderbal Asif Iqbal also sustained minor injuries.
Refuting the allegations of students, a police officer of the district told GNS: “The passenger bus driver who had violated the law by overloading was challaned by cops but the students, one of whom is a relative of the driver, tried to stop us from doing our duty and also created ruckus which is unacceptable.”
The official said later these students resorted to stone-pelting in the Town and disturbed the peaceful atmosphere. “The DC Ganderbal urged these students to end their protest. He told them that administration will look into their genuine grievance but these people resorted to violence which left our so many men injured,” he said.
The official further said that police would take action against those students who resorted to stone-pelting. “Those who disturbed peace shall face music,” he added.
Meanwhile, the journalists of the Town alleged that three of their colleagues were beaten without any reason by police while they were performing their professional duties. However police said that they were caught in the midst of “mobsters and got accidently hit”.