February 18, 2019 10:23:22 am
At least 100 Kashmiri students, who fled from Dehradun and Ambala amid tension mounting since the Pulwama attack, arrived at Landran in Punjab’s Mohali district early Sunday. Not only was a shelter home set up by the Jammu and Kashmir Students Organisation (JKSO) ready for them, they were also offered lodging by the management of the Gurdwara Singh Shaheedan, Sohana.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh declared that his government shall ensure security of Kashmiri students studying in the state. Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Harcharan Singh Bhullar said they have deployed PCR vehicles in Landran and Sohana apart from other security arrangements.
Amrinder Singh, who made arrangements for students at the Sohana gurdwara, said, ‘’We are making arrangements for the students’ stay. We feel all of them are not at fault. There are mischevious elements in every society, but that not mean we paint everyone black.’’
A management member said, “What happened in Pulwama is wrong in every way, but we cannot target students, we will help them.” Sant Singh, former president of the gurdwara’s management committee, said that around 50 students, most of them women, had decided to stay at the gurudwara. ‘’We have provided them half-a-dozen rooms and are serving them langar,’’ he further said, adding that some students left for Jammu in the evening.
Best of Express Premium
Khawaja Itrat, president of the JKSO, said around 20-25 more students were on their way, adding that he would urge the district administration to provide more accommodation. ‘Stayed locked in our rooms for 2 days’
After reaching Landran, the students recounted what they had gone through in the past three days. Those from Dehradun said some were asked by their landlords to vacate their rooms. Samir, a student of a private institute there, said, ‘’We were in our room and two of my friends also came to be with us. On Friday evening, some people started knocking on our door and hurling abuses. We were petrified and remained locked inside for two days. Then we contacted our friends and decided to move to Mohali.”
Another student said his landlord locked their door from outside to protect them when some vigilantes came to inquire about them. ‘’Our landlord told them we had already left for Kashmir,’’ he added. Imtiaz, another student, said they stayed two days without food. “We plan to stay in Mohali for a few days and then leave for home. We have not informed our parents yet, we told them we are safe,” he added.
Adnan, who is pursuing engineering at the Chandigarh Group of Colleges’ Jhanjheri campus, said, ‘’We are against any kind of bloodshed and condemn such attacks. Many things are happening in Kashmir, the environment there is not peaceful. We came to Punjab for studies. If we are not safe in any part of the country, where do we go?” he asked.
Showing his Aadhaar card, he said, ‘’This certifies that I am an Indian, but the minute people learn that we are from Kashmir, they start looking at us with suspicion. We are even harassed sometimes.”
Aqib Ahmad, who came to Landran from Mullana where the panchayat had earlier asked local residents to evict Kashmiri students living as tenants, claimed that a group of people forcibly entered his friend’s room and beat him up. “After hearing the news, we got scared and came to Mohali Saturday night after getting in touch with JKSO,” he added.
🗞 Subscribe Now: Get Express Premium to access our in-depth reporting, explainers and opinions 🗞️
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.