JK Police on Monday resorted to aerial firing in the Kashmir University campus and thrashed students playing cricket. The cop, Mehraj-u-Din, who opened the fire was later suspended.
The incident was triggered when a cricket ball went flying into the Vice Chancellor’s lodge, which alerted the policemen standing guard there. When a player went to retrieve the ball, the policemen on duty objected to him trespassing into the restricted area. However, after a heated exchange the cops returned the ball and the match resumed.
One hour later, however, the policemen swooped down on the playground and beat up the students and resorted to aerial fire when the students retaliated. This caused panic on the campus. The incident later triggered protests with students shouting slogans.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in a tweet said the police was inquiring into the incident. “The police is enquiring into the matter and action has been initiated against the errant personnel. Don’t want to say more just now,” Omar said on the incident.
Incidentally, it was a KPL (Kashmir Premier League) match between Kashmir Greats and Blossom Cricket Club.
“This is an example of what the conflict has done to police. They think they are above the law and can get away with anything,” said a student on the condition of anonymity. “If this is what they do on the university campus, beating hapless students, imagine what they will be doing off the campus!”
When contacted, Professor Muhammad Afzal Zargar said the players didn’t belong to Kashmir University. “They were not our students. They were outsiders. We had provided them the ground to play the match,” Zargar said. He said that two constables and one inspector suffered injury in the scuffle. “The incident took place when cricket balls time and again flew into the compound of the administration department. Police objected to this, and the players refused to comply. Things worsened when some players together beat a policeman.”
Riyaz Wani is a Special Correspondent with Tehelka.