‘We can’t mourn our sisters’ death while they felicitate IAS aspirants’
Srinagar: Kashmir University on Tuesday prevented its students and scholars from holding a peaceful seminar-cum-talk to remember Asiya and Neelofar—the victims of the 2009 rape and murder in Shopian district of south Kashmir.
The students said they had been distributing invitations in the campus for the past three days, asking the students and scholars to participate in the event titled ‘Sexual violence: Indian weapon of war in Kashmir’. The event was being organised to commemorate Asiya and Neelofar on their 7th death anniversary, they said.
On Tuesday, the chief proctor, Naseer Iqbal, and a few policemen had cordoned the venue before the event could begin, they said.
“A few students managed to get into the park, but when more students approached, the police started turning them away,” the students said.
The students said their resistance and refusal to leave the venue forced the authorities to call their parents.
“They telephoned our parents and threatened to take action against us,” they said. “To thwart the scheduled seminar, the vice-chancellor issued an order asking all the departments to ask their students and scholars to attend class or practical work immediately.”
The students said the varsity officials “unleashed mental terror” on them since the day the programme was announced.
“Yesterday, the officials threatened action against the students and today, hours before the event, police asked us not to hold the event,” they said.
The bodies of Asiya and Neelofar were recovered on May 30, 2009, morning from a stream in Shopian. According to their family and the public, the women were raped and murdered by the government forces, but the state has been refuting the version.
While the varsity foiled the programme over the two women, it organised a function to felicitate the Kashmiris who qualified IAS this year, dismaying the students. The chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, was invited to be the chief guest at the function.
“A handful of people who have been actually assigned the job to strengthen the roots of oppressors in Kashmir are being honoured with felicitation ceremonies, but we are not even allowed to express dissent and or solidarity with our sisters,” the students said.