Srinagar: A group of students of the Law department of Kashmir University on Thursday stabbed their seniors inside the department premises at about 10am, when the seniors were going to attend classes. The students used sharp objects including surgical blades to inflict severe injuries to three seniors, while one among the group of attackers was himself wounded while trying to prevent his friend from killing a senior student.
Students who witnessed the attack told Kashmir Reader that a group of four youths, led by Rehaan Gowhar, a sixth-semester Law student, his batch-mate Omar, and two “outsiders” stepped out of their vehicle and pounced upon their seniors who were eighth-semester students, and tried to kill them.
The four students injured in the incident were shifted to the health centre of the university, from where they were shifted to SKIMS and JLNM hospitals. The injured students have been identified as Mufti Mohtasim, Haseeb Banday, Mueed-ul-Islam, all students of 8th-semester, and Aqib, a student of 6th-semester at KU’s Law department.
An eyewitness said that the youths who came with Rehaan tried to overpower him and snatch the surgical blade from him after he seemed intent on killing a senior student. In trying to free himself, Rehaan used the blade on his batchmate and injured him, too.
“After literally attempting to murder the seniors, Rehaan abused and hurled invectives on the students and professors who tried to intervene. He didn’t even spare the female students,” said a student of 6th-semester who witnessed the scene.
Law department students said that on Wednesday, Rehaan had hurled invectives on 8th-semester student Haseeb Banday outside the Sir Syed gate of the varsity. Before that, Rehaan and his friends, including Omar, who were travelling in a four-wheeler had tried to overtake Banday who was riding on a Bullet bike. Omar was driving the four-wheeler. While overtaking, the vehicle brushed past Banday’s Bullet, at which Banday abused Rehaan. Enraged, Rehaan and Omar came out of the vehicle and exchanged expletives and some blows.
“As Banday is a resident of Nigeen, which is a few metres away from the varsity, Omar and Rehaan didn’t drag the issue there,” the 6th-semester student said.
On Thursday morning, in an apparently pre-planned attack, Rehaan and his group attacked Banday and his friends, leaving one of them badly injured.
A female student of the 6th semester said that Rehaan is a student who boasts of having political connections and friends in the police.
“He is a card holder of the National Students Union of India (NSUI, student wing of the Congress),” she said, adding that Rehaan is frequently involved in eve-teasing incidents in the department.
Another group of students claimed that during their last semester exams, Rehaan was caught filling the answer sheet in his hostel room. However, due to his political influence, he was let off without any punishment.
“He has also been threatening students using the name of some Sajjad, a DySP rank officer in police,” the students claimed.
Rehaan denied these allegations and told Kashmir Reader there was a conspiracy against him in the department. “The seniors actually attacked me with blades and attempted to kill me,” he said. “It was in self-defence that I attacked them back,” he said.
When asked about his altercation with seniors on Wednesday, Rehaan said that he had taken a friend to SKIMS Soura for treatment and was on his way back when the incident happened. “Momin Sultan, a friend, complained of heartache and we took him to SKIMS for treatment. While we were coming back from the hospital, outside the Sir Syed gate, Banday without any provocation hurled invectives on us. We exercised restraint and let him go,” Rehaan said.
He said that Haseeb was driving on the wrong side of the road and had deliberately tried to cross his vehicle’s way.
Chief Proctor of KU, Syed Naseer, said that a high-level team has been constituted to investigate the matter. “The team will submit their report within two days. On their recommendations we will initiate action against the erring students,” Naseer said.
Asked about apprehensions of students that Rehaan will be let free due to his political connections, Naseer said there was no such chance. “We will take the case on merits and whoever is responsible will be taken to task,” he said.
A police official at Nigeen police station, under whose jurisdiction the Kashmir University comes, said that an FIR had been registered into the incident, but declined to provide the FIR number.
Kashmir Reader later contacted the Station House Officer of Nigeen police station but he also declined to reveal the FIR number, and asked to contact the SSP. “Our communication to media goes through SSP, so I cannot divulge the details,” he said.
Kashmir Reader tried to contact SSP Hazratbal but he did not receive the calls, nor did the DySP Hazratbal.