Srinagar: A day after 12 Kashmiri students reportedly sustained injuries in an attack by the local students at the Meewar University in Rajasthan, a group of armed men on Saturday appeared near the varsity and allegedly threatened Kashmiri students if they dared to step outside the campus. Meanwhile, fearing trouble, the varsity authorities have deployed police at the campus.
“At around 9.30 am Saturday, dozens of men carrying swords, knives, iron rods, and chains converged at the railway track opposite the main gate of the college. They were shouting anti-Kashmir slogans and threatened to teach the Kashmiri students a lesson,” a second year B Tech student, wishing not to be named, told Kashmir Reader.
He said the hooligans created ruckus near the college for at least five hours in presence of the cops deployed by the authorities on Friday evening for protection of the Kashmiri students.
“The goons enjoy open support from some local students, and some employees of the varsity as well. On Friday, we were taken aback when we noticed seven employees of the university, including the security guards joining the mob to attack us,” he said.
A BBA student said, “We had lunch under police protection. We had tea under police protection. We have been confined to out hostel. How long will police stay with us?
“We don’t feel secure in or outside the campus. We tried to return home but the management and police didn’t allow us to do so. We feel hapless.”
Over 300 Kashmiri students are pursuing courses like B Tech, B Pharmacy, B A LLB, BBA, BCA, BMLT and B Sc Forestry. They say they were reeling under fear since the Indo-Pak clash in the Asia Cup early this month.
“After Pakistan defeated India, we’re being threatened and harassed by the local students who dub us Pakistanis. A B Tech student was beaten up by some local students, a day after the match. And another B Tech student was assaulted in Bilwara on Friday last by the locals there after they came to know that he was a Kashmiri,” the students said.
Another B Tech student said that trouble started on Friday afternoon when some local students entered their class and threatened to kill them in case Pakistan defeated India in the T20 match.
When contacted, the Chief Proctor KD Khilji told Kashmir Reader that as a precautionary measure policemen were deployed at the campus by the district administration. He denied that some locals had gathered outside the campus shouting anti-Kashmiri slogans and issued threats to the Kashmiri students.
“Only for the sake of precautions police has been deployed in the campus. The situation is quite normal. Many students also attended the classes,” Khilji said.
“We’re doing counselling of the students to bring them closer. Things have normalized to a greater extent,” he added.
Earlier this month, 67 Kashmir students were suspended by Meerut’s Swami Vivekanand Subharti University (SVSU) for allegedly cheering for Pakistan cricket team after they defeated India in the Asia Cup match in Bangladesh. They were charged with sedition. However, after a public outcry, the sedition charges were revoked, but the students, who are yet to return to the varsity, have been booked for creating communal hatred and ruckus.
Meanwhile, Hamid Bukhari, who facilitates admissions of Kashmiri students in the Meewar varsity under the Prime Minister’s Scholarship scheme, has arrived in Rajasthan to take stock of the situation.
“It was a minor scuffle between two students and the issue was sorted out peacefully,” Bukhari said of the Friday clash.
“I met varsity and police officials and prominent citizens of the area who assured full security to the Kashmiri students. I met students and enquired about the incident. I visited the hostel rooms of almost all the Kashmiri students,” he told the GNS news agency.
But a B Tech student from the varsity denied that the facilitator met them. “We heard about the facilitator’s visit. But he didn’t met us,” the student said.