Kashmiri students denied stall at JNU food fest

SRINAGAR: The Kashmiri students studying in Jawahir Lal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi were restricted by the Bharatiya Janata Party’s youth wing from installing a food-stall at an international food festival to be held inside the campus on January 26.
According to students, the Kashmiri students on January 20, have fulfilled all the formalities and deposited security money to showcase their traditional cuisines at a International Food Festival (IFF) organized by the International students association (ISA) each year at JNU on January 26, adding, during the event the students from diverse cultures and nations display their flags and come together to offer global cuisines.
However, students said that activists of Akhil Bharatiya Vidya Parishad (ABVP), the youth wing of BJP, started threatening ISA to not to allow the group of Kashmiris students to exhibit their cuisines in the festival.
The ISA president and other members of the organization were harassed and intimidated by the ABVP goons, students said.
“The organizers received open warnings from ABVP threatening them with disrupting the festival in case Kashmiris were allowed to open their food counter. The International students were further threatened with legal action and deportation,” the students said.
Just two days before the festival, the students said the booking for Kashmiri food counter was cancelled by the organization on January 24.
Despite ISA approaching the JNU administration, the students said the university rector turned a deaf ear to the association complaints against ABVP threatening.
The students said that threatening student bodies and intimidating students individually does not change the fact that Kashmir issue is an international dispute.
“The evolution of a complex association of the erstwhile Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir with the Nation-states of India and Pakistan after 1947 amounts to writing on the wall that Kashmir is a disputed territory,” the students said.
The students said it has happened for the first time that students have to call off an event on the demand of ABVP.
“JNU campus was known for its diversity and democratic space and it is unfortunate that the university administration cowed down to the pressures of right wing forces in the campus,” the students said.
We also hope that all likeminded students groups would come together and send a strong message to the administration and respond to this crisis and express their solidarity with the students from Jammu and Kashmir, the students added.