Braving teargas shells, many of them hurled stones and kicked police vehicles at Lal Chowk
Angry male teenagers and youth in their early twenties throwing stones on the streets of the Kashmir Valley is commonplace.
But what has taken everyone by surprise is girls, some in their school uniforms and others donning hijabs, also joining the protesters, hurling rocks and venting their anger on police vehicles.
Perhaps the first time they took to the streets was last week, when many of them were at the forefront of the protests. At least one of them was even seriously injured in the violence.
On Monday, many protested again, bringing the commercial hub, Lal Chowk, to a standstill.
The girl students belonged to the prestigious Government Women’s College, M.A Road, and juniors from the nearby Kothi Bagh Higher Secondary School. They were seen raising anti-India and pro-azadi slogans.
Later, armed with stones and plastic cones, the girl laid an ‘ambush’ on three police vehicles at Exchange Road and threw stones at them.
“Even stun grenades, PAVA shells and tear-smoke shells failed to deter them. They managed to come out more than eight times despite tear-smoke shelling,” said a police officer on the condition of anonymity.
The police was forced to fire tear-smoke inside the campus to contain the situation.
The girl students, who clashed for more than three hours, were also seen stopping a police vehicle and kicking and hitting them with hard objects. A group of girls even succeeded in chasing away a police patrol.
“People in Kashmir are dying day in and day out. The State is crushing us from all sides. How can we stay aloof from what is happening? The time has come for a decisive phase to end the Kashmir problem once and for all,” said an angry Class XII student of the Kohi Bagh Higher Secondary School.
There were dramatic images of women participating in stone throwing in 2010 and 2016, mainly in localities where local youth were picked up by security forces.
However, Monday’s dramatic acts of the girl students were rare. There were even daring attempts to jump over the police vehicles.
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah posted an image of a volley-ball carrying girl hitting a police vehicle to make the point about the growing anger in J&K.
“The reality that is Kashmir — she has her basketball and a brick in the same hand while she kicks the truck,” tweeted Mr. Abdullah.