Thousands stranded in traffic jam as students protest on highway

School principal suspended, arrested on charges of molestation

Thousands of vehicles with passengers onboard were stranded on Srinagar-Muzafarabad highway for more than six hours on Monday in a chaotic traffic jam that spanned over more than 35 miles from central to north Kashmir.

The jam resulted in halt of ambulances and school buses while students were seen marching on roadsides to reach their schools.
Several dozen students of Government Higher Secondary School Zainakot had blocked the road, raising slogans against the principal who according to them molested a girl during a picnic at tourist resort of Pahalgam on Saturday. Police said they have arrested the principal and an FIR has been registered against him.
A top police official confirmed to Greater Kashmir that the school head has been arrested on charges of molestation.
“It is a case of molestation,” he said.
According to witnesses, traffic began to freeze on the road at around 8: 30 a.m when scores of students blocked the road with logs of wood at Zainakot.
The students were seen holding placards and shouting anti-principal slogans, seeking punishment to him.
Dr Javid Iqbal, an official of Tahira Khanam’s College of Education, said ambulances and school buses could not proceed to hospitals and schools.
“It is the worst ever jam,” he said.
In the afternoon, photographs showed army personnel videotaping the demonstrating girls. An officer was seen talking to students, apparently asking them to end the blockade.
Meanwhile, the state government put the principal under suspension and attached him to the Directorate of School Education.
An inquiry, on the directions of Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for School Education Department, Tara Chand, has also been ordered in the issue.
“Principal DIET Srinagar, in-charge CEO Srinagar Munshi Muhammad Javaid, OSD Inspection and Monitoring Wing (IMW) Abdul Rouf Shahmiri and Deputy Director (P&S) Bashir Ahmad Trag shall conduct the inquiry and submit report within 15 days,” an official spokesman said in a statement Monday evening.
The spokesman, quoting Director Education Mir Tariq Ali, said, “No laxity of behavior on the part of officers shall be tolerated.”

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