A day after police allegedly raided a hostel in Jamia Millia Islamia, students protested for the second day in a row. While some students were seen huddled together in small groups, others held placards denouncing the “raid”.
Meanwhile, students from Kashmir decided to remain indoors for the next few days. “We are scared to step out of our hostel rooms and go anywhere. The situation in the Valley is adding to the fear in Delhi. We didn’t go to the university today and will not go for the next few days,” said an MA student of the department of History and Culture.
A professor, who hails from Kashmir, said, “Hostels are supposed to be the safest place for students from Kashmir. But after police entered the hostel, students are even more scared. Considering that Independence Day is just a day away, the fear is even more palpable.”
However, Jamia’s media coordinator Iftekhar Ahmed said university officials had not received any reports of students being under any kind of fear after Saturday’s incident. He denied allegations that students from Kashmir were feeling insecure or threatened. He also said the students had not approached university officials with any such complaints.
Jamia has a substantial number of students from Kashmir. The university offers 5 per cent reservation to Kashmiri students.
Jamia student Umculaleem, who hails from Poonch in Jammu, said in the past month, she has been calling people in the Valley to know about their well-being amid the protests there, but since Saturday, the role has been reversed. Now, she is getting numerous calls from her family and friends, asking after her well-being. “I have received calls from people asking if I am safe. At present, I’m not staying in the hostel. I have moved to a relative’s place to avoid any unforeseen situation. We generally face discrimination in the hostel because of where we are from. People do not talk to us over the phone as they feel our phones are being tapped by police,” she said.
A first-year Kashmiri student, who is planning to apply for the hostel, said he was having second thoughts. “After this incident, I don’t know where I am going to stay,” he said.