Srinagar: It’s not the first time that Meerut’s Swami Vivekanand Subharti University (SVSU) is in news for harassment to Kashmiri students studying there.
The students say at least two Kashmiris have been attacked there in the last two years. The first attack took place about two months after the session started in 2012. A first year BBA student hailing from Lal Bazaar area of Srinagar was attacked when he and his friends were taking a stroll inside the campus.
“Three more Kashmiri students managed to escape from the spot. However, the BBA student was ruthlessly beaten without any reason or rhyme. Then also we approached the university officials and sought action against the erring students. However, instead of taking action against them, they shelved the case. This is what they have been doing every time Kashmiri student is harassed there,” a second year B Tech student told Kashmir Reader on Friday.
He said the non-Kashmiri students frequently taunt Kashmiri students by labelling them ‘traitors, Pakistanis, and terrorists’. The university authorities, he said, have “given a freehand to the non-Kashmiri students to harass, humiliate and assault Kashmiri students at their will.”
“We have been subjected to mental torture right from day one, and every time we approach the officials, they side with the non-Kashmiri students. Officials have always victimised Kashmiri students and shielded the guilty,” he said.
Another Kashmiri, a student of BBA second year, who returned to Valley on Wednesday, told Kashmir Reader that in the most recent assault in December last year, a group of three students were returning to the hostel from the nearby market when a group of nearly a dozen youth carrying sticks and rods intercepted them near the main gate.
“The three Kashmiri students were asked to identify themselves. No sooner they said they were from Kashmir, the non-Kashmiri students attacked them. A student BBA hailing from Uri had to be hospitalized. He got eight stitches in skull at the campus hospital,” he said.
At the hospital, he said the injured student was forced to sign a paper stating that he won’t take legal action against the assailants and that the case will be taken up by the university authorities.
“We resisted the move and didn’t allow our injured friend to sign the paper. However, the higher officials came to the hospital and assured us prompt action,” he said.
“As no official turned up at the hostel, we went to the police post outside the campus and filed a complaint. Later, head of JK Cell Mr Zafar came to the hostel and took the injured student to the police post and forced him to withdraw the complaint,” he added.
Another BBA student said, “The intention of the university could be gauged by the fact that only students hailing from the Valley have been suspended. The students from Jammu, who abused us and joined the non-Kashmiri students in the ruckus, have not been touched. This speaks volumes about their hypocrisy.”
He said that Kashmiri students have proved their mettle by topping the university examinations. Most of the Kashmiri students, including girls, he said, have secured over 90 per cent marks in the examinations.
“We’re not misguided (as J&K CM Omar Abdullah called them). We’re not troublemakers. Sunday’s incident happened in presence of the Warden S Bansala. Why didn’t he act when the non-Kashmiri students raised slogans like ‘Jai Modi’ to provoke us,” he said.
He said the trouble was already brewing when non-Kashmiri students announced in the common hall that anyone supporting Pakistan team “will be chopped into pieces.”
“Even when Sri Lanka was playing against India, the non-Kashmiri students hooted at us. They just need an excuse to fight with us,” he said.
However, SVSU’s Registrar P K Garg told Kashmir Reader over phone that he was not aware of any assaults on Kashmiri students in the past. “I’ve to check these details at my office. I have no idea if Kashmiri students have been attacked in the campus,” he added.
However, Garg acknowledged that Kashmiri students were reeling under fear after the cricket match controversy.
“Even we have apprehensions that if the Kashmiri students are spotted outside the university something bad might happen to them. Many students, who were staying as paying guests, have returned to the hostel citing security reasons,” Garg said.
“We saved Kashmiri students by sending them to Delhi. They would have been in big trouble had they been dropped at Meerut city,” he added.