Around 30 Kashmiri students of a private engineering college in Ballopur village of Mohali district left amid tension on Wednesday after an ex-student “liked” a social media post about the Pulwama attack. The students — who were staying in paying guesthouses (PGs) across the village, located near Lalru — alleged that they were asked to leave by residents.
Derabassi Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Pooja Siyal told Chandigarh Newsline that a former student of the college had “liked” a social media post about the Pulwama attack, and some students had objected to the same. She further said that she had visited the college and met the students and assured them of safety.
“Some of the students wanted to go home so transportation was arranged for them. ‘We will ensure the security of students who want to stay back.’’
Raja Hafizullah, a student of civil engineering at Universal College, said some people asked the owner of their PG to evict them, and threatened to beat him up if he did not do so. He added that some unknown persons also came to their PG Wednesday morning and threatened them. ‘’They said we should leave the village on our own or they will forcefully evict us,’’ said Hafizullah.
“There were 25 to 30 Kashmiri students living in this PG. We informed our PG owner and decided to leave as we don’t feel safe,” he added.
Mujeeb, another engineering student of Universal College, said after the incident, they spoke to all Kashmiri students living in PGs across the village — around 80 in all — and together decided to leave the village as they feared for their safety.“Since many of the students could not afford the hostel fees, we had taken some PGs on rent and were staying there,” Mujeeb added.
Muzamil, who was also living in a PG accommodation, said many students had left the village for shelter homes and gurdwara at Mohali where Kashmiri students from other states are also staying. ‘’They plan to leave for Jammu and Kashmir with the help of Khalsa Aid,’’ he said. Chairman of Universal College, Gurpreet Singh, could not be reached for comment.
Will resolve the matter, say villagers
Balbir Singh, owner of the PG from where the Kashmiri students left, told Chandigarh Newsline that the students had been staying there for the last two years, but on Tuesday afternoon, some village youths told him to “throw them out”.
Balbir Singh, an ex-serviceman from the village, said, “We spoke to the Lalru police about it. We shall not let anyone take law and order into their hands and shall resolve the matter soon.”
Gian Singh, whose wife Kamlesh Kaur is the village sarpanch, told Newsline that Balbir Singh informed him about the issue Wednesday morning, after which he informed Lalru police. Gian Singh added that he also circulated the number of Lalru police station among Kashmiri students in case of emergency.
Lalru Station House Officer (SHO) Inspector Gurcharan Singh said they are looking into the issue. “We came to know that one of the Kashmir students had liked an inflammatory post on social media. Some other students objected to it and this issue flared up. We are finding out what was the post and who posted it,” he added.