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Anti-CAA protests: Police use force after students protest in Srinagar

Police personnel take cover to avoid stones during a protest by Kashmiri students outside a college in Srinagar, Kashmir on December 17, 2019.

Police personnel take cover to avoid stones during a protest by Kashmiri students outside a college in Srinagar, Kashmir on December 17, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Nissar Ahmad

A police official said the situation had been brought under control “with mild force and within hours”.

The J&K police used force in Srinagar on Tuesday to foil an attempt by students to organise a demonstration against the police action on students of the Jamia Millia Islamia. Some journalists also claimed that they had been beaten up, and their phones snatched, when they were performing their professional duties.

Scores of students assembled around noon on the campus of Islamia College of Science and Commerce in Srinagar’s Hawal locality. The protesters condemned the police action on the students of the Jamia Millia Islamia and expressed their solidarity with them. “The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is illegal and anti-Muslim,” said a protester, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The police action against students in New Delhi seems well planned and a condemnable act,” the student added.

The police and the CRPF swung into action when students made an attempt to come out of the campus. Teargas shells and batons were used to disperse the protesters, including a sizeable number of female students. Many female students were seen crying, terrified by the security forces’ action. Clashes also broke out between the students and security forces and stones and glass shards were seen littered across the road.

A police official said the situation had been brought under control “with mild force and within hours”.

It is first time since the August 5 decision to revoke J&K’s special status that students in Kashmir have organised a protest, and reacted to an issue faced by their counterparts elsewhere in the country.

‘Journalists thrashed’

Two senior journalists alleged that they were beaten up and their phones snatched when they were videographing the police bid to round up students during the clashes.

“We were filming the police action on our mobile phones. This irked the policemen,” said Azaad Javaid, a correspondent with the Delhi-based news portal The Print. “My phone was snatched by a Station House Officer (SHO) in front of a Superintendent of Police (SP). The officer’s men pounced on me without any reason or rhyme,” he added.

Mr. Javaid and freelance journalist Anees Zargar also alleged that they had been beaten up by the policemen.

The Print demands Javaid’s phone be returned immediately,” Shekhar Gupta, its Editor, said in a statement. Mr. Gupta also demanded an inquiry into the incident and punishment for the erring policemen.

A video of the incident shows a number of policemen pouncing on Mr. Javaid and slapping him repeatedly.

“Let the aggrieved journalist approach me with a complaint,” said Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Srinagar, Haseeb Mughal. “If there is any misconduct, I assure action.”

Separately, a government spokesman said on Tuesday that all government degree colleges of the Union Territory of J&K would observe ‘winter vacation’ from December 21.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 4:53:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/anti-caa-protests-police-use-force-after-students-protest-in-srinagar/article30332392.ece

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