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2 minor students injured after stone-pelters target school bus in Shopian

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Incident widely condemned; CM promises action against perpetrators

Photo/ Javed Khan

Srinagar, May 02: Two minor students were injured – one of them with head injury — after their school bus was pelted with stones in Zavoora area of south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Wednesday – the incident has provoked widespread condemnations.

“Miscreants pelted the school bus with stones near Zavoora village,” a local news agency (GNS) quoted SSP Shopian Shailendra Kumar Mishra as having said.

The injured students were shifted to a nearby hospital for treatment wherefrom one of the injured kids (a class 2 student with head injury) was referred to Srinagar for specialized treatment.

“We have taken cognisance of the incident and have registered a case and further investigation has been taken up,” the SSP said.

The incident provoked widespread condemnations with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti pledging that those responsible will be taken to talk and opposition National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah blaming the government’s  amnesty scheme for stone-pelters for recurrent buts of rock throwing. Veteran separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani also condemned the incident.

“Shocked & angered to hear of the attack on a school bus in Shopian. The perpetrators of this senseless & cowardly act will be brought to justice,” Mehbooba Mufti said on Twitter.

Former chief minister Omar Abdullah today said that the amnesty granted to stone-pelters was to encourage “reasonable behaviour”, but some “goons” were determined to use the amnesty as an opportunity to pelt more stones.

“The amnesty granted to stone-pelters was meant to encourage more reasonable behaviour but some of these goons are determined to use the opportunity given to them to just pelt more stones,” Omar said in a tweet.

In January, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti announced amnesty for all first-time stone pelting offenders since 2008.

“How does pelting stones on school children or tourist buses help advance the agenda of these stone pelters? These attacks deserve our unequivocal condemnation & this tweet is mine.

“School children attacked, tourists attacked, MLA’s home petrol bombed. Sadly Kashmir is just a steady series of bad news most of the time these days,” he added.

In a statement issued here, Hurriyat-G chairman Syed Ali Geelani while expressing his dismay over stone throwing incident in Shopian, wherein a school bus carrying children “was targeted by some unscrupulous elements”, said “our strength lies in discipline; we should keep strict vigil over those involved in these incidents.”

He said “in resistance movements, we need to demonstrate our mature thinking and follow discipline.”

In his appeal to youth, Geelani called for retrospection and said “on one hand dogmatic forces while trampling all ethics, term brutal rape and murder in Kathua ‘a small matter’ and on the other while pelting stones at innocent kids, we are providing opportunities to these forces to get madder and come up swinging.”

“We are passing though a crucial stage, and it is sensible to move forward and follow discipline with complete wisdom,” Geelani added.

Hurriyat-M chairman Mirwaiz Umar Fraooq while condemning the stone-pelting on a school bus, said such incidents “tarnish the image of the movement” and provide an opportunity to “our adversary” to defame it.

“Stone throwing incident on a school bus is quiet disturbing one fails to understand why a school bus carrying children was targeted? Those who indulge in such holliganism should realise that these actions tarnish our movement & provide an opportunity to our adversary to defame it,” (Sic), Mirwaiz tweeted.

“It is the duty of each Kashmiri to safeguard the peoples movement for which immense sacrifices are being given and do no such thing that will be detrimental to it in any way,” Mirwaiz said in another tweet.

Minister for School Education, Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali while condemned stone-pelting on school bus, termed the incident as horrific, and assured the student community that the government would take every possible step to ensure their safety and security.

Condemning the attack on a school bus by stone-pelters, Jammu and Kashmir Congress chief Ghulam Ahmed Mir said the situation in the Valley is “all time worst since 1947″.

“The situation in Kashmir is all time worst as this government and the Centre was not able to tackle it rightly. Militancy was there for the past three decades but the previous governments managed to deliver, run the schools, carried forward the developmental work,” Mir told reporters at the party headquarters in Jammu.

He said, “the situation had not been as worst in Kashmir post-1947.”

“Besides the bloodshed, the democracy has also suffered under this government. The by-elections were cancelled one day before polling (Lok Sabha polls in Anantnag parliamentary constituency in south Kashmir last year). The government first announced holding of Panchayat and local bodies elections, then decided against it,” he said.

On the amnesty given to first-time stone-pelters, he said, “Congress never took such a shortcut. We follow the law of the land, the constitution and will not endorse anything which is wrong. A wrong is a wrong.”

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