Soldiers Thrash Students, Many Injured

PULWAMA: Army soldiers Tuesday allegedly barged into a Government sponsored winter coaching centre in South Kashmir’s Lassipora village of Pulwama district and thrashed students and teachers mercilessly. The Army action sparked protests and shutdown in the area.

Divulging information about the incident, a school teacher, Ghazi Abdul Aziz, said that Army men from 55 Rashtriya Rifles entered into classes of the government-run-coaching centre where a teacher Shabir Ahmed was busy in delivering lecture on Biology to class 10th students.

“Without any provocation, the army men thrashed the students and when the teacher objected, he was hit with gun but as a result he lost his tooth,” Aziz told a local news gathering agency, CNS, adding that “at the time of incident they were offering prayers in one of the rooms of the school.”

He said that the Army action was uncalled for and they let loose a reign of terror inside the tuition centre. “A girl student, Uzma Nabi, lost conscience. Some students suffered injuries in head, some in shoulder, some in face and some on arms and legs,” he said and denied the allegations that students resorted to stone-pelting prior to the incident.

“The area had been cordoned off by Army and the incident occurred during that time,” he said and added that they informed Chief Education Officer Pulwama, Abdul Hamid Kumar, about the incident who assured that the matter will be taken up with higher authorities.

The incident sparked protests in the area while parents of the students hit roads and demanded action against the accused army men.

Local sources said that a group of youth hooted at Army vehicles and when Army chased them, they fled from the spot. However, a group of Army men barged into the coaching centres and thrashed students there.

Srinagar based Defence spokesperson, Colonel Rajesh Kalia, however, said that some “army vehicles came under attack in the area while Army men only warned the youth and they didn’t resort to any violence”.

“Some students attacked army vehicles with stones. Our men only requested the teachers and students to refrain from such acts. No student or teacher was touched,” he said and added that “students were counselled in presence of the Principal and teachers and teacher or student was attacked or manhandled:.

SSP Pulwama, Rayees Ahmed Bhat, said, “no student or teacher was attacked even though army vehicles came under attack from stone-pelters.”

“Students were only warned and not touched. The reports of Army beating students are baseless,” he added.

Meanwhile, Station House Officer Police Station Pulwama said that an FIR vide number 35/2017 has been registered and investigation has been taken up to ascertain the facts.

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