Students in the Kashmir Valley continued protests for the third consecutive day on Wednesday, forcing the authorities to close down all 46 colleges for two more days. “Teaching work in all colleges of the Kashmir division will remain suspended on April 20 and 21 as a precautionary measure,” said a spokesman of the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Baseer Khan.Class work was stopped in all colleges and a few schools in Srinagar on Monday after students clashed with the security forces, leaving dozens injured. The trigger was the alleged police excesses on students of Government Degree College, Pulwama on April 13, which left over 50 students injured.In fresh protests on Wednesday, students took to the streets in north and central Kashmir. “This is a grim situation. We are worried,” said a spokesman of the State Education Ministry. The ministry officials claimed that the decision to close down schools and colleges “is taken by the district administration after assessing the ground situation”.This year’s academic session, like in 2016, when five months were lost to the street agitation, is again staring at a blank. Sources said the government was mulling multiple measures, including barring circulation of videos on social media platforms to stop unrest in colleges. Separatist leaders, Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, while strongly criticising the administration for “invading educational institutions and assaulting students,” called for solidarity protests on Friday.Meanwhile, the principal of Government Degree College, Pulwama, which is at the centre of the storm, was on Tuesday attached to the directorate office “till the inquiry is completed.”
Downplaying the security apprehensions raised by some participating nations ahead of the Commonwealth Games, Delhi Police Commissioner Y S Dadwal today said there is nothing to fear and he is completely satisfied with the arrangements.Dadwal, who is the commanding officer for over one lakh security personnel that would be pressed into action for the sporting extravaganza, took a tour of the Games Village here to take stock of the security arrangements.”I am completely satisfied with the security arrangements. We have been preparing for months now,” Dadwal told PTI. An IPS officer of the 1974 batch, Dadwal assured that security has been completely taken care of and there is nothing to fear.Asked about a recent sting operation carried out by a foreign news channel claiming lack of security, he said, “That was completely bogus. He just shot from outside.” Security has been one of the primary concerns for the Games, scheduled from October 3 to 14.Over one lakh personnel including commandos drawn from the paramilitary forces as well. Helicopters with commandos and unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) would be guarding the air space.Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) teams of the Army as well as the National Disaster Relief Force would also be deployed. Dadwal’s assertions come even as international athletes continue to raise security fears. Some have even pulled out citing safety fears.