Safety and Security of Kashmiri Students

Safety and Security of Kashmiri Students
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A Kashmiri engineering student was assaulted with iron rods and knives by a group of persons, among them his neighbours and fellow students, at his rented residence in Chandigarh on Friday night. The student in contention, a final-year student in computer engineering at Chandigarh Group of Colleges, has sustained injuries in his back, left arm, and leg. The “case” in contention is not an isolated one. Many Kashmiri students domiciled away from home have in the past been beaten, harassed and assaulted. This must stop immediately. Security of life and limb of Kashmiris studying in different parts of India must be ensured on an urgent and exigent basis. In terms of the “case” in contention, the Kashmiri student was assaulted by one and all. If it turns out that the person was assaulted merely for being Kashmiri, then it constitutes a clear hate crime. And, hate crimes, usually have no reasons and motives other than hate inspired violence against an individual or individuals merely they belong to a certain ethnic or cultural group, among other reasons. There are scores of Kashmiris studying or having businesses outside the region who have to exit the state for obvious reasons. For students, the reason is usually the dearth of professional colleges in Kashmir and for business persons, it is the lack of market depth and scope within Kashmir and a plethora of opportunities outside Kashmir. Mostly, these assorted groups of persons have no choice but to exit the region. But, with assaults and attacks happening, they could feel insecure and thereby their lives, life chances and opportunities thereof will be negatively affected. It then becomes imperative upon powers that be to ensure that these gratuitous assaults do not happen in the future. First and foremost, the colleges and universities that Kashmiri students are studying in must ensure that they are safe. One step towards this could be on campus residence for these students. Second, there should be alerts for Kashmiri students and , in case of an exigency, there must and should be help lines for them. Third, strict and public punishments should be meted out to those who engage and indulge in attacks against Kashmiris domiciled outside the region. Kashmir is already a blighted region, where many people, to repeat, have to exit it for pursuing education, earning livelihoods and opportunities that are scant here. They cannot be targeted merely for being from Kashmir. Given the incidence of assaults, it is about time that safety and security of Kashmiris be ensured the earliest!