They hurled abuses, called us terrorists and said we throw stones at the army. They told us to go back to Kashmir and threatened that they won’t let us study here, said Bahar Ahmed Giri, a student of pharmacy
JAIPUR — A group of Kashmiri students at a private university in Rajasthan were on Wednesday allegedly called terrorists and beaten up by locals, upset over soldiers being targeted by stone-throwers in the strife-torn border state.
The assault is the latest incident of violence against Kashmiris studying at Chittorgarh’s Mewar University, which has around 500 students from Jammu and Kashmir.
“Six of us were assaulted in three separate attacks that took place at the same time in the market. The attacks seemed coordinated,” said Bahar Ahmed Giri, a student of pharmacy.
Though no one suffered serious injuries, students are upset with the university administration for failing to protect them and have demanded the arrest of the offenders.
They were beaten up for no reason, Giri said. “They hurled abuses, called us terrorists and said we throw stones at the army. They told us to go back to Kashmir and threatened that they won’t let us study here,” he said.
Police have registered an FIR against two unknown people for causing hurt but gave a different version of events.
Two Kashmiri students had an argument with two motorcycle-borne men in the market over giving way, local station house officer Dinesh said. “The two men hit the students and the students, too, retaliated,” he said.
The university, too, backed police’s version. “A little scuffle happened between the students and the outsiders. There is nothing serious,” university director Harish Gurnani said.
The locals even reached the hospital where students were being treated and abused them in the presence of police, Waseem Khan, who studies computer science, said.
“Police did not do anything. They say that the locals did not harm us. Will they act when the locals kill one or two of us?” he said.
In March 2016, four Kashmiri students were beaten up over rumours of beef being cooked in the university hostel. The following month, some Kashmiri students got into a scuffle with another group over India’s loss to West Indies in the T20 cricket world cup. Sixteen Kashmiri students and a warden, also from Kashmir, were suspended by the university after the incident.
“If the university can’t provide us security, they should tell us. We’ll all go back. Last time also they assured us that the offenders will be arrested but nothing happened,” Khan said.
Students involved in the March violence were suspended, Gurnani said, adding the university ensured security of Kashmiri students on the campus. For outside, they would ask the district administration and police to work out a plan.
Stone-throwers are back in focus after a video war erupted in the Valley, with clips of forces’ alleged excesses and youngsters roughing up soldiers causing widespread anger on both sides of the divide.
Lately, stone-pelters have been crowding gun-fight sites in Kashmir to disrupt anti-insurgency operations and help militants escape.