November 23, 20190

Zafar Aafaq | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI — A group of Kashmiri students at Mewar University in Chittorgarh district of Rajasthan were beaten up by a gang of students from Bihar during a hostel brawl at the university campus on Friday evening. Five students received minor injuries.

Eyewitnesses said that around 8pm, as the students gathered in the mess for their supper, the students from Bihar went there and attacked the Kashmiri students. A Kashmiri student told Caravan Daily on condition of anonymity, “One of the students was severely injured in the attack and he was taken to a hospital.” He is Tahir Majeed from the Handwara area of Kashmir valley.

“It seemed they had planned an attack on us beforehand,” said Asif Kohli, a student from Jammu. “They also beat me up,” he said.

Earlier in the day, around 2 pm, there was an altercation between a Kashmiri student and one from Bihar over gate pass. “The student from Bihar behaved rudely with the Kashmiri student and called him a terrorist,” Ahmad said, adding, “The matter was reported to the University administration and it was amicably resolved. “They even hugged each other.”

In the evening, however, a group of students from Bihar went to the mess and thrashed some Kashmiri students. “We came out of the mess and ran towards the hostel security room around 200 feet away. The attackers ran after us to the security room carrying rods. They threw stones on the grilled windowpanes and banged on the door,” a victim student said.

Meanwhile, some students contacted the local police station. A police party led by the Station House Officer arrived at the spot, reprimanded the culprits and warned them of action. The Kashmiri students wrote an application to the SHO, but the police refused to accept it.

However, late-night the Special Superintendent of the Police (SSP) visited the hospital where the injured were being treated to reassure the students of the safety.

Rajasthan Police also confirmed to Caravan Daily the incident of the thrashing of Kashmiri students. Local police officials said that the situation is under control. “We have deployed our men around the university campus to ensure the safety of students,” a police official from Police Station Gangrar said via phone.

There are over two dozen students from J&K currently enrolled in the university.

A Kashmiri student said late at night, “We are hungry and haven’t had our food yet. We are scared of going back to the mess.”

Violence and intimidation against Kashmiri students studying in different parts of India have spiked over the past several months.  Recently Kashmiri students were beaten in a Ludhiana private college after an altercation over some issue. Such incidents have become a worrying factor for Kashmiri students and their parents back home.

“A vicious campaign against Kashmiris is being run in the country and we condemn it in harshest words,” said Nasir Khuehami, spokesperson of an association of Kashmir students. He demanded punishment against the culprits involved in the beating of the students.

He said that the association is trying to get in touch with local officials to ensure the safety of the Kashmiri students.

Late night, Ahmed said, the university administration relocated the Kashmiri students to the nearby hostel where foreign students stay. “We were provided separate rooms and spent the night there.”

“The condition of Tahir [Manjeed] is stable now and he will be brought back to the hostel in a while,” Ahmed said Saturday morning.