A HUGE row broke out between Panjab University students and Pakistan-born Canadian writer Tarek Fatah after the latter allegedly called a J&K student terrorist. Tarek had been invited to deliver a Tedx talk on Balochistan. After the fracas, the organisers called off his talk, scheduled for Thursday.
Gagandeep Singh Dhillon, a PhD scholar in geography, said: “I was sitting at the physics canteen when Tarek came and began an informal interaction with students. We were discussing yesterday’s Nagrota terror attack. When he was talking to us, the department librarian came. When the students rose to show respect, Tarek told them, ‘Indians need to stop giving such treatment to their seniors’.”
Dhillon said Tarek mocked at the librarian and asked him to tell the students to sit. Immediately, an altercation ensued. Among those arguing was Mustafa, a PhD scholar from Kargil. “Tarek was saying, ‘He would not stand up for his own father, why are you all standing up for this person’. When I objected, he told me, ‘Hey you gori chamdi, where are you from?’ When Mustafa replied, Tarek allegedly responded with ‘You’re a Pakistani terrorist, you’re an anti-national’.”
Also, Tarek allegedly told Dhillon, “You are a Khalistani.”
Another PhD student Ganeshwari said when she asked Tarek his opinion about her, he said, “You are the real patriot because of your religion.”
Tarek said he called Mustafa a Pakistani “because he was behaving like one”. He said before the altercation, the group was discussing Tuesday’s terror attack. “My view was that India needs to retaliate in the strongest terms. That upset him leading to an argument.”
According to Tarek, suddenly, “a dozen men” arrived. “This was an attack planned by the Congress youth wing and people backing Left ideology.”
A PU spokesman said, “The university neither invited anyone nor cancelled any event.”