Cricket match row: Kashmiri students allege coercion after assault at Meewar University

Srinagar: Hundreds of Kashmiri students, who were attacked and injured allegedly by local students and goons at the Meewar University of Rajasthan on Friday last, said that they were being ‘held hostage’ at the campus and forced to change their statements and enter into a compromise with their assailants.
On Friday last, at least a dozen Kashmiri students had reportedly sustained injuries in an attack by the local students at the University. Fearing trouble, the varsity authorities had deployed police in the campus.
“We have been held hostage at the University. We’re not allowed to return home. The administration and the Kashmiri men, who facilitated our admissions, are threatening us to change our statement and enter into compromise with the local students and the hooligans, who assaulted us on Friday. We have nobody to fall back upon. No one is coming to our rescue,” a group of students, told Kashmir Reader Sunday.
The students denied that Hamid Bukhari met them on Saturday. Bukhari facilitates admissions of Kashmiri students in the Meewar varsity under the Prime Minister’s Scholarship scheme.
“Hamid Bukhari, and Nazir Ganai, who facilitate the admission of Kashmiri students, didn’t turn up to meet us. They’re enjoying the hospitality of the University in air conditioned rooms, while, we’re at the receiving end. This morning, when we went to meet them, they told us that we’re responsible for the crisis, not the local students. They’re making us scapegoats for their business,” a student hailing from south Kashmir said.
On Saturday night, he said, Sunil Gautam, a senior management official visited an injured Kashmiri student only to warn him to retract from his statement.
“The administration and their Kashmiri business partners are targeting every Kashmiri student who raises voice against injustice. The irony is that University officials sought the help of local students and goons, when around 300 of us tried to return home,” he added.
Apprehending more trouble in the coming days, the students said that once the elections were over in the state, the threat to the Kashmiri students will increase manifold.
“The local students and goons enter our rooms and assault us at their will. When elections will be over and the focus will be shifted, only Allah knows what will happen to us,” said a B Tech second year student.
However, Bukhari refuted the allegations that he and the varsity officials were intimidating the Kashmiri students to change their statements. He also reiterated that he and his associate met every single student at the University.
“There are 550 Kashmiri students in the University. And then there are some black sheep, who make false allegations against us. We met every student individually. The situation at the University is under control,” he said.
Acknowledging fears of Kashmiri students, Bukhari said: “Elections are being held in the state. And anyone can exploit the situation. Having said that, the district authorities and varsity has taken adequate security measures.”
He said that a minor scuffle between a Kashmiri and a non-local student was exploited and blown out of proportion by miscreants without consideration of its repercussions.
This is not the first case of alleged assault on Kashmiri students in north Indian University. 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.