As unrest and clashes continue in Kashmir and the death toll rises to 42, Kashmiri students in other parts of the country are being attacked and beaten, reports say.
According to Hindustan Times, a doctoral scholar at Bhopal’s Barakatullah University, Omar Rashid, was thrashed by two other students after he told them he was from Pampore, Kashmir.
“When they started beating me, I held my ears seeking forgiveness just to save myself but they thrashed me brutally in front of security guards,” Rashid told Hindustan Times. “One of them said we were responsible for the poor condition of Kashmir.”
In another incident in the University of Hyderabad, a Sikh student, 25-year-old Amol Singh, was assaulted by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP – youth wing of the BJP) members when he was on his way back from a protest against the alleged police and CRPF atrocities in Kashmir. He said the assaulters apparently mistook him for his Kashmiri senior Bilal, because of a similar beard and complexion. Bilal had finished his degree and returned to Kashmir, but used to be active in student politics and vocal about issues surrounding Kashmir during his time at the university.
“They knocked me down and started punching on my face and stomach and hitting on my knees. My friends and I tried to run away into the hostel and they chased us,” Hindustan Times quoted Singh as saying.
Students at the hostel alleged that security guards didn’t intervene to protect Singh. “The ABVP students barged into the hostel saying: Where is Bilal? We will teach a lesson to that anti-national,” Munna, who stays in the same hostel, told Hindustan Times.
Singh added that when he reached the hospital, another group of ABVP members started beating him up. “They left only after the other students cordoned me and took me into the hospital.”
ABVP leader N. Susheel Kumar and others have been booked for allegedly assaulting the student. Kumar was accused in the past for abetting the suicide of Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula. According to a Deccan Chronicle report, Singh was also booked after Kumar lodged a counter-complaint against him.
Protests like the one Singh attended in Hyderabad, against police and security force brutality in Kashmir, have also been held in Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru and elsewhere.
Such incidents have occurred in the past as well, when Kashmiri students across the country have been attacked when there is unrest in the Valley. The most recent case of this was in April this year, when student clashes at NIT Srinagar resulted in Kashmiri students being targeted in other parts of the country, including Jodhpur.