AN ARGUMENT between a student from Uttar Pradesh and another from Kashmir at a college in Jhajjar, Haryana, led to a physical altercation and brawl late Tuesday evening after the former allegedly called the latter a “terrorist”, leading to serious injury to at least one student and minor injuries to a few others.
The incident took place around 9 pm at Ganga Institute of Technology and Management (GITAM), in Jhajjar’s Kablana area.
The institute’s director, Aman Aggarwal, Wednesday said the issue stands resolved and the student who called a Kashmiri student terrorist, and thereby sparked the ruckus, has been rusticated.
Kaleemullah Babu, a second year BTech student who is from Kashmir, claimed that he was “joking around” with his friends and throwing water on them when Kasim, a third year BBA student from UP who was sitting close by, also got wet. “Kasim became aggressive and started abusing me. He eventually called me a terrorist, and said all Kashmiris are terrorists,” Kaleemullah alleged.
As the argument escalated, others also got involved, and it soon turned physical, according to students.
Many of the 70 or so Kashmiri students at the college — enrolled through the Prime Minister’s Scholarship Programme for Jammu and Kashmir — allege that the security guard on duty also got involved and beat them up.
Students on the other side of the altercation, however, alleged that the row escalated after one Kashmiri student slapped a college employee.
A student who claimed to have witnessed the entire episode said, “The security guard stepped in to sort out the issue. His father, who is a bus driver in the college, also tried to end the fight. But one Kashmiri student slapped his father, after which the guard also became aggressive.”
The police were called in, but no complaint was lodged.
Calling it an “internal fight”, Jhajjar police PRO Chaman Lal said, “We went there to sort out the matter peacefully. It has been sorted out internally and both parties have reached an understanding.”
A handful of students sustained minor injuries, and one Mujahid Ghazi sustained cuts on his face and received a few stitches, according to information.
On Wednesday morning, Kashmiri students staged a demonstration and hunger strike on the campus between 8 am and 3 pm, demanding rustication of the students who had allegedly abused them and imposition of a penalty on them. They also demanded removal of the security guard who had allegedly beaten them.
The strike was called off after institute director Aggarwal assured the students that their demands would be considered.
A student from Kashmir, Kaisar Bashir, said, “We are often called terrorists and such things, but the argument has never gone to this extent before.” Aggarwal said he had never witnessed any such incident in his three-year tenure.
J&K government’s representative in Chandigarh, Inderjot Singh said the issue was taken up with the college management though the state’s principal resident commissioner in New Delhi. “They (institute administration) have assured us that no harm will come to the students from Kashmir. Senior police officials also went to the college today to resolve the issue,” Singh said.
“We want to tell the central government that in future we (Kashmiris) should not face such a situation in any part of the country. We promise we will not go against the law, but we want higher authorities to look into the matter,” Owaisi, a student, said.
With inputs from Adil Akhzer, Chandigarh