Hostellers not even informed, their belongings tossed out
Srinagar: Authorities in Ganderbal district have shifted about a dozen panchs and sarpanchs to the women’s hostel in Central University of Kashmir (CUK), without any regard for the female hostellers’ privacy and “under false pretext and in a highly unwarranted manner”, the female hostellers and university officials have said.
Panchs and sarpanchs in Kashmir are currently in fear for their lives after a spate of killings by militants. Many of them have been shifted to secure accommodations under guard by security forces, but in Ganderbal this has been taken too far.
Some of the rooms in the women’s hostel at the CUK’s Science and Arts Campus in Ganderbal were taken by the administration in the run-up to August 15, India’s Independence Day, a top official at CUK told Kashmir Reader.
The official said that the hostel rooms were taken “verbally” under a “false pretext” with the Deputy Commissioner Ganderbal telling the CUK administration that they needed the space for “Covid-19 care”.
The district administration, as per the official, ended up cramming political workers into the hostel rooms “in a highly unwarranted manner”.
The female hostellers, who had vacated the rooms in March in view of the Covid-19 lockdown and whose rooms have now been occupied by the panchayat members, slammed the CUK administration for allowing this trespassing without even giving them any notice to shift their belongings out of their rooms.
They said they came to know about the development only last week through a friend, who had recently visited the campus to find their belongings displaced from their respective rooms.
The hostel officials, she said, had stuffed all their belongings in a single room in complete disarray.
The female hostellers flayed the varsity administration for failing to respect their private space at the institution.
“It has been months since we left the hostel rooms, so even if some of our stuff has been stolen, we would hardly get to know because we don’t exactly remember about it,” one of the hostellers remarked.
The hostellers also rubbished the “lame excuses” of the university administration that they were “pressurised by the district administration” into allowing the political workers occupy the women’s hostel.
“If they had to shift them to our rooms, they should have at least informed us, so that we could have taken our stuff,” a female hosteller said.
Faculty members at the CUK also lashed out at the varsity administration for being “hand in glove with the district administration” in letting the panchs and sarpanchs intrude into the campus.
They questioned the silence of the top officials in the administration, especially the VC and the Registrar, in failing to protect the campus from such trespassing.
The panchs and sarpanchs, who would initially confine themselves to the hostel rooms, “are now roaming around the whole campus along with their families, causing us to fear for our lives,” a senior staffer at CUK told Kashmir Reader.
A top official in the administration at CUK claimed that the VC had “strongly” taken up the matter with the district administration Ganderbal and “asked it to immediately vacate the space”.
Deputy Commissioner Ganderbal Shafqat Iqbal said that they were not shifting the political workers elsewhere anytime soon.
“No, not now, we will see when the university opens,” Iqbal told this reporter over phone.
Asked if it was appropriate to use an educational institution’s premises to provide a safe haven to political workers, Iqbal said, “The university is closed right now. We can use it for any purpose. Don’t politicise the issue.”
Vice Chancellor CUK Prof Meraj ud Din Mir was not available for his comments on this matter.