Srinagar: At least twenty schoolchildren and government teachers on Wednesday were injured after being allegedly assaulted by Border Security Force (BSF) personnel in Sangrama area of North Kashmirâ€™s Baramulla district.
Reports and eyewitnesses told that a BSF convoy on way to Baramulla from Srinagar was pelted upon with a few rocks by protesters near Sangrama on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad highway this afternoon. The BSF convoy, eyewitnesses said halted their convoy and barged into the nearby government middle school (GMS). The deployment of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) provided them the cover from outside.
Eyewitnesses said that the BSF men went on a beating spree after barging into the school. The troops, they said abused, misbehaved and thrashed the teachers, including female staff. The troops did not even spare small schoolchildren, as young as six. At least fifteen students and five teachers were injured in the troopersâ€™ action, eyewitness said.
Some of the injured schoolchildren have been identified as Shagufta Amin, Masrat Bashir, Sehreena Amin, all seventh standard students, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Ashraf Malik, eighth standard students, Asmat Rashid, sixth standard, Nausheen Akhter and Nilofer Amin, fourth class, Muzammil and Tanveer Nabi, third standard and Kounsar Gulzar, a first primary student.
â€œThe children were attending the classes, when the BSF men stormed the school and thrashed the teachers without any reason or rhyme. They even beat female teachers, including me,â€ Headmistress, GMS, Sangrama, Kounsar Jabeen told a news agency.
â€œThe ruckus continued for at least fifteen minutes. We urged them not to harm the small children, but they didnâ€™t listen to us,â€ she added.
Kounsar said that as the BSF men were busy in thrashing her staff members and students, she called up senior civil and police officials, but to no avail. She said 20 students and her staffers were injured in the troopersâ€™ action.
She identified the injured teachers as Javeeda Parveen, Asifa Nabi, Tahir Manzoor and Firdous Ahmad.
â€œWeâ€™ll not resume duty, unless government takes stern action against the guilty troopers,â€ she added.
After middle school, eyewitnesses said troops barged into the adjacent government high school and roughed up at least a dozen students and a few teachers.
â€œAs the screams in the middle school ceased, BSF troops barged into our school and beat many students. They also thrashed the teachers who objected to their actions,â€ Ghulam Nabi Dar, a teacher said.
â€œOne of my colleagues, Firdous Ahmad was brutally beaten when he tried to convince the troops. This is the limit of lawlessness,â€ he added.
When the news of beating of students and teachers spread, hundreds of men, women and children, including the family members of the schoolchildren took to streets and staged pro-freedom and anti-India demonstrations in the area. Chanting â€œWe want Freedom,â€ Islam Zindabad,â€ â€œGo India Go Back,â€ and anti-India, anti-BSF slogans, the people were protesting against the BSF action. The protesters also blocked the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad highway for nearly an hour to demand action against the guilty troopers.
Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Baramulla, Muneer Ahmad Khan said that the incident took place this afternoon when some youth pelted rocks on the BSF party that was on way to the town.
â€œThe BSF personnel entered the school. Soon, the teachers and BSF entered in altercations, resulting in injury to a youth. He is being treated upon,â€ Khan said.
â€œWeâ€™re probing the allegations leveled against the BSF,â€ he added.