At least eight students, including girls, were injured after police used force on undergraduates of Degree College at Ganderbal, 25 km from Srinagar, who were protesting 'humiliating assault on a girl student wearing sandals in the college'. The protesters retaliated by pelting policemen with stones, injuring four of them.
The students protested against, what they called, the humiliation of one of their female classmates by the college principal who denied the allegations.
"The girl was in proper uniform. Only thing she did not wear were black shoes due to rising temperatures. But the principal, instead of being sympathetic, assaulted the girl and humiliated her in front of everyone," said a college student wishing not to be named.
"This angered many students who objected to the principal's acts. She did not bother and instead hurt the self-respect of the grieving students," he alleged.
The college students marched to the office of district magistrate who advised them to "listen to your principal".
"Actually the principal wanted them to come in proper uniform. Some come in colourful dresses and some wear flip-flops instead of shoes. That is why the principal might have hit her. They came to me and I told them to listen to the principal," said Ganderbal deputy commissioner Showkat Ahmad.
College principal Prof Roshan Ara accepted that she wanted students to strictly adhere to the dress code of the college.
"The thing is that students sometimes come without neck ties or shoes, which I object to. They went to the DC, who knows me, wanting that they should not be bound to wear uniforms. But we have to maintain proper discipline in the college," she said.
The students termed the principal's attitude towards the students as "dictatorial".
"We are not school kids that she will check whether we have worn white shirt and black shoes. And how many colleges in Kashmir or outside force their students to wear uniforms. This is archaic mentality on her part," said an enraged girl student.
"She wants us to come sharp by 10am and never allows any student to leave the premises till 3pm. This is not a kindergarten but a degree college," she added.