Handwara killings: JNU students protest, demand repeal of AFSPA

New Delhi:A group of JNU students on Saturday staged a protest at Jantar Mantar in Delhi against the killings in Handwara town of Kashmir and demanded that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) be repealed.

Carrying placards saying “Kashmiri lives matter” and “down with AFSPA, end state sponsored violence”, the students belonging to left-backed All India Students Association (AISA), who were joined by members of All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA), held the protest amid minor disruptions from some people believed to be from right-wing groups.

Some people shouted slogans like “Bharat Mata ki jai” and “Vande Mataram”. However, policemen deployed on the spot controlled the situation.

Handwara town in Kupwara district of Kashmir is facing a tense situation since last four days in the wake of death of five persons in firing by security personnel during violent protests against alleged molestation of the girl student by an army man.

Later a video of the girl was also released, where she is seen denying allegations against the army man. However, today the girl’s mother claimed that she was pressurised by police to give the statement.

“The Handwara episode is also a lesson in how the laws are openly violated with impunity. In a shocking violation of the law, a video of the minor girl complainant was uploaded and circulated on media and social media, exposing her identity,” said women activist Kavita Krishnan, who is Secretary, AIPWA.

Among those, who were a part of the protest were students from Kashmir.

“There is no place for people like Rohith Vemula, Irom Sharmila and Soni Sori in the country. For them, the idea of India is only limited to their Bharat Mata, which is women like Maya Kodnani and Smriti Irani,” said JNUSU vice president Shehla Rashid Shora.

Criticising the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA), she said, “Innocent civilians that are getting killed in the name of AFSPA and then they tell us that people are throwing stones. But who forces them to do this.”