A student was injured after police allegedly lathi-charged students and staff of a school in Jammu and Kashmir for protesting against a government official, who, they claimed, disrespected the national anthem playing there.
The incident happened at Government Model Boys’ Higher Secondary School in Kishtwar town on Thursday where assistant commissioner (revenue) (ACR), Mohammed Syed Khan had come on a raid to check absenteeism.
However, the national anthem was playing when Khan arrived, and showing least respect, he entered the principal’s office, took the attendance register and started leaving, when some teachers asked him to show some respect to the anthem in front of the students, especially as he was a public servant.
On hearing this, Khan lost his cool and allegedly abused the teachers, which in turn angered the students, who shouted slogans and staged a protest with the teachers.
One of the students said police later came inside the school and lathi-charged the protesting students and teachers.
However, Kishtwar deputy commissioner, Angrez Singh Rana denied lathi-charge.
“There was no lathi-charge and no student was injured, but it is a fact that the ACR (Khan) had gone to the school to check absenteeism,” Rana said, adding that Khan’s act may not have been deliberate as he could have been under pressure to visit other departments and schools.
“I don’t think it was a deliberate act by him… he might have forgotten to realise that the anthem was on,” Rana said.
The DC said he has ordered a probe by additional deputy commissioner Kishori Lal Sharma and he will submit a report within 15 days.
Meanwhile, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad’s (ABVP) city unit served a two-day ultimatum on the district administration to take strict action against the ACR Kishtwar and SHO Kishtwar for disrespect to national anthem and lathi-charge on students.
Failure to take action would result in school and college students boycotting their classes from Monday, ABVP leaders said.
SSP Kishtwar Abrar Ahmed said, “No lathicharge was ordered on the students inside school premises”. He said soon after, information was received, the SHO rushed to the spot to sort out the issue and restore order.
Assistant Commissioner (Revenue),Kishtwar, Mohd Syed Khan was not available for comments and his mobile phone was switched off.
Deputy Commissioner Kishtwar Angrez Singh Rana later chaired a meeting with senior district officers. Principal Prahalad Bhagat was also present in the meeting.
Official sources claimed DC, Kishtwar tried to sort out the issue and justified inspection by the senior KAS officer to ensure attendance in school premises.