The ink hasn’t even dried on reports about anger, anxiety and a sense of being beleaguered felt by students at NIT-Srinagar, and we are already confronted with news reports that, in retaliation, some Kashmiri students were harassed and reportedly beaten up in Vyas Dental College in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
According to the news report in the national daily Hindustan Times:
“A group of Kashmiri students has said they were assaulted in Jodhpur’s Vyas Dental College on Thursday evening in an alleged backlash against the attack on “non-local” boys studying at Srinagar’s National Institute of Technology (NIT) three days ago. Around 30 people armed with knives, iron rods and sticks attacked Kashmiri students at the annual cultural event of the private college, the group told HT on Friday. “Local students and outsiders, who had their face covered, chanted Pakistan Murdabad slogans and looked for Kashmiri students at the function. They beat up every Kashmiri they found,” one of the Kashmiri students said.
We, as Kashmiri Pandits, are distressed about this politics of hate and revenge. Our first reaction is: Have we lost our mind? Where are we heading with this kind of brazen brutality?
Before this unfortunate incident is used to create communal hysteria and detrimental sentiments and further this cycle of violence, we want to tell the people and especially students across the country to refrain from attacking Kashmiri Muslim students. We urge them not to mentally or physically harass Kashmiri students under any circumstance.
We also want to ask the culpable students of Rajasthan what Kashmiri students in Vyas Dental College have got to do with anything that happened in NIT-Srinagar. The news report does not mention any provocation whatsoever – and even if there was – we want to ask these young men, who seem to be unable to resist primal urge for violence, who gave them the right to hurt others? It is tragic that by resorting to cowardly behavior of intimidating and harming a minuscule group of non-local Kashmiri students they have besmirched Rajasthan’s legacy of valor and righteousness. They must realise they are being used to feed off sectarian violence.
We also want to tell our fellow Kashmiri students in Rajasthan that we empathize with them in their hour of distress and that we are in solidarity with them. We will fight for your right to education anywhere in India without any fear of violence looming over your head.
We urge our countrymen not to allow any Kashmiri student be hurt in any corner of the country, to desist from hate mongering and to prevent any such violent occurrence.
We make an appeal to the authorities to be vigilant against purveyors of hate and take utmost preventive steps at every educational institution where Kashmiri students study, so that these unsavoury incidents do not happen.
At this moment, we stand in solidarity with all Kashmiri students studying at various educational institutions across the country. We trust our fellow citizens will not allow such incidents to recur and protect them as their own children.
Aarti Tikoo Singh
Aman Indra Kaul
Ieshan Vinay Misri
Pamela Dhar Anand
Rahul Rishi Kaul
Sanchit S Kaul