Akeel Rashid

Student protests: What to do?

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The widespread student protests unfolding in the Kashmir Valley seemingly have no end in sight and with the triggers and motivations for the same constantly changing, it is unclear as what’s ahead in this regard. This academic year, the student protests originated in reaction to the civilian killings in the South Kashmir, and now, from past few days, the same are being held against the killers of Kuthua rape victim. Since the commencement of class work in the schools and colleges in Kashmir, this year, the academic activities have remained largely affected here.

Before coming to the main idea of this very article, I would like to clear one important thing that I am not opposing or criticizing the reaction that the students are showing towards the most deplorable act that was committed by the some monsters in the Kuthua region of Jammu And Kashmir State. Period.

Now, talking about Government’s response to the ongoing rampant student protests, being a student myself and having experienced the response of authorities towards the protests in educational institutions, I am a witness to the fact that there is a ‘complete lack of civil administrative scrutinization’ concerning the student protest, that is to say during any of the particular protest demonstration of students, the only visible face is that of forces, whereas the civil administration officials — from both sides, government and educational institutions — are always absent from the scene. This administrative absence goes unnoticed but the impacts are recognizable; the violent student-forces confrontations and closure of educational institutions.

Going to the psychology of these student protests or for that matter any of the protest, one concludes that the protesters have one intent that is; they want  to be heard. The hearing agents in case of student protests can be none other than the civil administrative officials itself, whereas the police, which is made to face the agitating students, is trained to enforce and not to take the heed, and this is the science behind why students get into the confrontation with the forces.

More to the point, why student protests have become so problematic and unmanageable is due to the lack of a communication channel between the students and the government, and setting up a communication channel in absence of a student union is beyond the bounds of possibility, but the present situation in the educational institutions, no matter how long it will prevail, demand that there should be a student body to fill this pervasive communication gap.

Political appeals won’t make a difference because those appeals will be at best designed to capitalize the student protests and not to help them organize better, but the ‘pure’ administrative intervention can surely change the things for better; however, the only administrative intervention one gets to see up to now is when the government orders the closure of the schools. The students in Kashmir are not helplessly violent, but given the ‘narrow ambit of protestation’ available for them in Kashmir, the violence becomes inevitable.

Last but not least, It is also imperative upon the students that they should practice their ‘right to protest’ by keeping in view the fact that here in Kashmir protests are held and responded as a case of provocation and most importantly the students should bear in mind that holding a justifiable protest in an utterly unjustifiable way will serve no purpose.

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