Pulwama attack fallout: Kashmiri students leave Dehradun after threats issued by groups

By Inder Bisht,  TwoCircles.net

More than 700 Kashmiri students studying in various educational institutions in Dehradun are facing forceful eviction from the city following a wave of protest and physical intimidation by groups targeted them after a social media message of a Kashmiri student mocking the Pulwama attack went viral.

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The student, Kaishar Rashid who studies in Dehradun’s Subharti University has been suspended, and is believed to be on the run.

Speaking to TwoCircles.net, Nasir Khuehami, spokesperson of the Jammu and Kashmir Students’ Organisation (JKSO), Uttarakhand, said: “Ever since the message went viral on social media, angry groups of people visited college campuses and residential areas where Kashmiri students live for confrontation.”

“Roshipura, Bahuwala, Sudhowala, Premnagar, and Shelaqi areas of the district are the worst affected,” he added.

Bhupendra Singh, registrar, BFIT Group of Institutions, said that around the city, groups of people are visiting educational institutions and threatening the management to rusticate Kashmiri students.

“This is not our job to rusticate any student on such grounds. Government will decide it. All over the city groups of people are visiting campuses and asking the management to remove Kashmiri students,” said Singh of BFIT group, who refused to reveal the identity of the groups behind the warning.

Around 500 to 600 Kashmiri students study in various institutes of the group in Dehradun.

Khuehami said that students of Alpine college, CIMS, BFIT, Dolphin Institute and Subharti University in Dehradun district are facing the maximum threat.

“I received hundreds of calls of scared students telling me about how their landlords are asking them to leave the house. Some of them said that locals have threatened them with dire consequences if they don’t leave,” said Khuehami.

In one of the incidents of physical assault, twelve Kashmir students were allegedly beaten up by a group of protesters after the victims happened to have been walking close to the mob.

“The 12 students were returning to their room after Friday prayers when they got caught up by a group of protesters in a busy street,” said Khuehami.

According to Khuehami, the angry mob thrashed the twelve for “good twenty minutes” resulting in some of them receiving minor injuries.

“Thank god no one bled or received major injuries. However, they all are now in deep trauma,” he narrated.

More than 1,000 students are believed to have been studying in Dehradun district presently.

The state attracts Kashmir students in large number because of the agreeable climate, a chain of decent educational institutions, and “warm and friendly locals”.

However the terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama on February 14 where 49 CRPF personnel lost their lives seems to have changed the equation between the Kashmiris and the locals.

Another Kashmiri student Ahmed Dar (name changed on request) and his six roommates were on the way to Delhi international airport to fly back to Kashmir when they spoke to the reporter.

A third-year-student of Bsc Medical Laboratory Technology, Dar, said that they had to hide themselves in their room the entire day on Friday after a group of people banged their door and windows in order to bring them out.

“Yesterday, the entire day, we locked ourselves up in our room. At night around 10.30 pm, we received a call from our landlord to leave the house,” Dar said.

“His voice was stern. He ordered us to leave the house immediately,” he recalled.

Dar and his fellow Kashmiris sneaked out of the house located in Sudhowala leaving behind their belongings in the dead of night to reach the highway.

“We were scared to go through the main city. So we took a shortcut which goes through a forest and reached the highway in half-and-hour of walking,” recalled Dar.

From there they further walked two kilometer along the highway and reached a motel.

“We called up our local MLA Engineer Abdul Rashid and Junaid Mattoo, the mayor of Srinagar.

After that I received a call from DIG Baramulla who reassured us. He then contacted SP Dehradun who sent a police team for our rescue,” said a harried Dar.

The group spent the night at a hotel near Dehradun ISBT, and in the morning boarded a bus for Delhi.

“All my documents and belongings are in the room, but right now I feel that I should go back home,” said Dar, a native of Handwara, north Kashmir.

JKSO, meanwhile, have arranged a temporary facility for thirty students in Chandigarh where the affected students of Dehradun are being shifted.

“Until the situation normalizes here the students will live in a rented accomodations in Chandigarh,” said Khuehami.

Khuehami meanwhile said that JKSO is co-coordinating with the state authorities, and have started a helpline where students can report any such incident within or outside the campus.