Kathua: J&K on edge; 15 students injured in protests 

Srinagar: Students hold placards during a protest demanding justice for 8-year-old Asifa who was raped and murdered in Kathua, in Srinagar on Wednesday. PTI

With protesters against the Kathua gang rape and murder of a minor girl refusing to relent, Jammu and Kashmir remains on edge as 15 students were injured in clashes with security forces on Wednesday.

Reports said that students carrying banners assembled at Khanabal-Pahalgam road in Anantnag town of south Kashmir and took out a protest march seeking justice for Kathua minor victim and capital punishment for all the accused in her rape and murder.

The protests soon turned violent resulting in clashes between forces and students. Police used tear gas shells and baton charge, leading to injuries to 15 students, they said, adding that two female students were among the injured.

Reports of similar protests were received from Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) Awantipora, Baramulla, Kulgam, Pulwama and Ganderbal, where students hit the streets to register their protest against the gruesome incident. Students indulged in stone-pelting after police stopped them from marching on the roads in several areas, reports added.

 

“We want to tell Chief Minister that we won’t budge until the perpetrators of this heinous crime are hanged. Some elements in Jammu are overtly or covertly supporting the beasts, who committed such a crime. We want to tell them, come what may, we won’t remain silent till the accused are given exemplary punishment,” a group of protesting students in Srinagar told DH.

 

Candlelight protest 

In the evening, candlelight protests were held in several parts of Srinagar. Dozens of people, including students, congregated at Press Enclave for a candlelight protest demanding justice for the victim.

“Justice still eludes the Kathua minor rape victim. The beasts who have committed the heinous crime are still alive. Instead of hanging them, they were supported by some BJP leaders and lawyers in Jammu. These people are insensitive and have no regard for women,” said a female protester at the candlelight protest.

Meanwhile, BJP legislator and ousted minister Choudhary Lal Singh, who was asked by his party to resign for attending a rally in support of the accused, addressed more than a dozen rallies in Jammu on Tuesday to drum up support for a CBI-led investigation into the case.

However, soon after, the BJP dissociated itself from Singh’s rallies. The party has also initiated an internal inquiry against axed ministers Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga, who participated in ‘Hindu Ekta Manch’ rally in support of the accused.

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