'231 students, 17 minors among 634 arrested for 'stone-pelting' in 2015'

'231 students, 17 minors among 634 arrested for 'stone-pelting' in 2015'

Police sees ‘involvement’ of students in stone-pelting as a ‘major challenge’

Police have arrested at least 231 students and 17 minors on charges of stone-pelting in 2015, official documents have revealed.

According the official data compiled by J&K Police, there were 281 incidents of stone-pelting last year in which 634 persons were arrested. “Of these, 231 were students,” the documents reveal. “17 minors were also arrested in 2015 in connection with stone-pelting.”

In the police figures, 120 stone pelting incidents have taken place in Srinagar (in 2015) in which 124 students were arrested—the highest in any district. “10 minors were also arrested from Srinagar district for taking part in clashes last year. 288 arrests were registered in the district in 2015 alone,” the figures reveal. “Srinagar district is followed by Anantnag where 31 stone-pelting incidents were registered last year resulting in the arrest of 26 students and three minors.”

The figures reveal that in just five incidents of clashes in Shopian district of South Kashmir last year, 42 students were arrested of which one was a minor. “In 2015, 64 people were also kept in preventive custody. In total, 688 people were released on bail while till December 31 last year, ten people were in police custody and five in judicial custody.”

A senior police official said though stone-pelting was not a new thing in Kashmir, the “fresh trend wherein young boys, especially students, are taking part in it has of thrown up a major challenge for the police.”

A source in police said 2015 has seen upward trend of number of stone pelting incidents in Kashmir. “There were stone pelting incidents in 2010, 2009, and also in 2008. However, the frequent stone pelting incidents, especially on all Fridays in old city, is a cause of concern,” he said. 

Pertinently, Inspector General of Police Kashmir range, Syed Javid Mujtaba Gilani recently told Greater Kashmir that they are exploring various means of “modern ways of crowd control.”

“We have even decided to keep counseling as our first choice for the stone pelters than the Public Safety Act (PSA),” he had said. 

According to noted historian of Kashmir, Fida Muhammad Hussain, first stone pelting incident in Kashmir dates back to 1931 when there was a tussle between Shers and Bakras (Lion and Goat parties). 

“This was a fight between the supporters of Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah and Mirwaiz Muhammad Yousuf Shah. The people lobbed kangris (traditional fire pots) at each other and also stones to show resentment,” he said.