Pulwama attack: Kashmiri students in Dehradun, Aligarh and Ambala allege harassment, intimidation
The Centre issued an advisory to all states and union territories to take necessary measures to ensure the safety of Kashmir students and residents.
Kashmiri students in some parts of the country have complained of being harassed and threatened following the terror attack in Pulwama on Thursday. At least 40 CRPF personnel died in the attack in south Kashmir, which was carried out by the Jaish-e-Mohammed.
Following several reports of threats, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on Saturday issued an advisory to all states and union territories to take necessary measures to ensure the safety of Kashmiri students and residents, ANI reported.
In Uttarakhand’s Dehradun, students have claimed that 12 of them were beaten up by activists from right-wing organisations such as the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. “They gave the students 24 hours to leave the state,” Jammu and Kashmir Students’ Organisation’s spokesperson Nasir Khuehami said.
Vikas Verma, a member of the Bajrang Dal in Dehradun, claimed that Kashmiri students have been celebrating and posting in favour of the terrorists who carried out the Pulwama attack. “We have asked landlords to evacuate their Kashmiri tenants and directed college authorities to rusticate Kashmiri students,” Verma told Scroll.in.
He added that they “will ensure that no Kashmiri Muslim studies or stays here”, according to The Times of India. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Shyam Sharma told the newspaper that they intended to “teach the students a lesson so that no one can ever dream of doing what had happened in Pulwama”.
The Jammu and Kashmir Students’ Organisation has arranged for 20 rooms at a housing estate in Chandigarh to temporarily house students who have been threatened at their universities or evicted by their landlords, said Khawaha-Itrat, a final-year mechanical engineering student in the city.
The organisation first set up a helpline on Friday, following which more than 800 students and their families called on it for help, Khuehami said. Most of the callers were from different colleges affiliated to the Garhwal University in Uttarakhand. The Dehradun police is helping the students and will direct them to the shelter in Chandigarh, where “the atmosphere is better”, Khuehami added.
The shelter was ready on Saturday morning but it had not received any student till noon. “But since our statement went out, I have received at least 10 calls from students in a private university in Ambala,” said Khawaja-Itrat. “The locals are holding processions there and the university has suddenly raised the hostel fees.” The organisation has rented mattresses and is hoping to put five-six students in each of the 20 rooms.
Students at the Aligarh Muslim University are concerned, too. Sajad Subhan Rather, a former vice president of the students union, told Scroll.in that they are hearing about an uptick in harassment and violence against Muslim and Kashmiri students both in Aligarh and other districts. “We have not finalised our plans yet but we will come to Delhi to demand security for ourselves,” he said.
Some students in Haryana were also reportedly threatened. A student from Shopian studying at the MM University in Haryana’s Ambala told the Greater Kashmir that a fellow student was thrashed by a mob. “We were in the market when a group of protesters shouting anti-Kashmiri slogans beat one of us black and blue,” Amir Hussain said.
Police officers are using social media to post information about where Kashmiri students studying outside the state may seek help.
Sandeep Chaudhary, special superintendent of police, Shopian, tweeted: “If students from Shopian studying in the colleges situated outside Jammu and Kashmir face any difficulty they can contact Shopian police. This too shall pass.”
The state police said they are in touch with authorities in Dehradun.