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‘We are living in fear’: Many leave campus in Punjab, others stay holed up

After B.Tech student Tahseen Gul's arrests, two of the university's seven other Kashmiri students moved to their relatives' homes in Chandigarh while four others were lodged in the guesthouse.

Written by Yasir Ahmed, Saurabh Prashar | Baddi | Updated: February 17, 2019 11:20:52 am
‘We are living in fear’: Many leave campus in Punjab, others stay holed up Kashmiri students at the Chitkara University guesthouse on Saturday. (Express photo: Jaipal Singh)

Though classes took place as per schedule, an uneasy calm prevailed in Chitkara University Saturday. After B.Tech student Tahseen Gul’s arrests, two of the university’s seven other Kashmiri students moved to their relatives’ homes in Chandigarh while four others were lodged in the guesthouse. A woman student stayed with her friends in the hostel.

A large number of students demanded the ouster of Kashmiri students from the university. Sources said hundreds of students had gathered outside Gul’s hostel and shouted anti-Pakistan slogans. Some had even tried to enter his room but could not due to the timely intervention of security personnel.

Read: Threatened, harassed by ‘radical groups’, students head to shelter home set up by J&K group in Landran

“These Kashmiri students had even raised anti-India slogans after the February 14 attack…Hence we demanded that they should not be allowed to stay here,” a protesting student told Chandigarh Newsline.

Holed up in the university guesthouse, the four Kashmiri students said they were living in constant fear. Irfan Dar, Tahseen Gul’s roommate who was questioned by police and released Saturday, said, “Gul’s WhatsApp status was read by several students of the university, who condemned it. We too objected and told him to remove it. A few of our classmates asked Gul to delete it. And he did it. But before that, screenshots of his WhatsApp status had gone viral, which escalated the tension. Yesterday, Gul submitted an apology, but last evening, hundreds of Computer Science Engineering students came to our hostel and started shouting slogans demanding that we be thrown out. We are accused of raising anti-India slogans, which is absolutely incorrect.”

Mubashir Ahmad, a third-year student of civil engineering, said, “When the situation got worse, we called the university’s security personnel. I also called a helpline number introduced by the J&K government for the safety of Kashmiri students last night. The helpline operators contacted the state government and arrangements were made for our security. One Inderjeet Singh, who operates the helpline number, instructed us to take precautions and advised us not to open the doors to our rooms, and asked us to switch off our room lights”. Mubashir left the institute for Chandigarh Saturday evening, while Kazim another B.Tech student, had left on Thursday itself.

Also read: Kashmiri student held for ‘glorifying’ bomber behind Pulwama attack

Arsalan Manzoor Mir, a first-year B.Tech student, said, “Although the situation appears to be under control at this stage, we have decided that we should go back home for a few days. The university authorities are cooperating with us.”

A senior faculty member of the institute said, “We shifted the Kashmiri students to the guest house as a precautionary measure. The situation is under control. We have also conveyed to the students that in case they want, they can go back to their hostel rooms anytime.”
Sub-Inspector Gopal Singh of Barotiwala police station said, “Adequate number of police personnel had reached the spot immediately.”

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