SRINAGAR: Police in Indian-administered Kashmir fired tear gas yesterday as thousands of students protested for a second day over the alleged rape of a three-year-old child. On Monday more than 70 people were injured, at least 50 of them from the security forces, as demonstrations raged across the restive northern territory. Yesterday, students mostly protested at a university campus in the main city of Srinagar, but hundreds of female students assembled near the city center demanding quick justice.

Police fired tear smoke shells to confine the students to a college, an officer said. No one was injured. School students also protested across many other towns in the region. Authorities imposed restrictions on the assembly of people to prevent protests from spreading by deploying thousands of police and paramilitary troops across the territory. The demonstrators have been calling for the accused to be given a harsh sentence.

Police have set up a special investigation team to fast-track a probe into the alleged rape of the child last week by a 20-year-old neighbor in the northern area of Sumbal. But that has not calmed the anger across the Kashmir Valley where protests over even civic issues often morph into anti-government and anti-India demonstrations. On Monday, police also arrested a school principal who allegedly issued a fake age certificate declaring the accused to be a minor in order to help him evade being punished as an adult.
Another case of alleged rape of a teenager came to light yesterday in the northern Ganderbal area. Police have arrested the accused man and also promised a fast-track investigation. In Jan 2018, an eight-year-old girl was abducted, starved for a week and murdered after she was raped by several people in the southern Kathua area of Jammu & Kashmir. That incident caused widespread outrage and protests in Kashmir and many Indian cities and towns that lasted weeks. – AFP