Srinagar: Denied peaceful means for protests and dissent, some unknown Kashmir university students painted pro-freedom, anti-India and anti-administration graffiti on walls of several departments at the campus.
The authorities painted the graffiti over with a thick layer of paint on the walls of the Business School and the department of Economics.
Kashmir university chief proctor Naseer Iqbal dismissed the graffiti as an “immature act”. He said there are no restrictions on the freedom of speech at the campus provided “the peaceful academic atmosphere is not disturbed”.
Attempts in the past by university students to form a union and student protests have been put down with force.
“Students come here to attend classes and they do, except for a small chunk of students who resort to such immature acts. If someone does so we counsel them,” Iqbal said.
Aala Fazili, one of the members of the banned Kashmir University Students Union (KUSU), said the graffiti are an indicator of the choked spaces for dissent.
“I don’t think the graffiti are an act of vandalism because you’re expressing opinions, emotions and political dissent with which the current regime does not agree,” he said.
“When all other means of expression of dissent are choked by the administration, you are left with no option but to look for other alternatives,” he added.
Vice-chancellor Kashmir University Prof KI Andrabi, said there is nothing wrong with graffiti if painted in a “proper place”.
“It’s natural that sometime students get angry and they do express it through different means. If some graffiti has been drawn by university students it must not be highlighted, rather ignored,” Andrabi said.