Amidst tension in Greater Noida’s Sharda University following a brawl between groups of Afghan and Indian students on Monday, a Kashmiri student was allegedly assaulted inside the campus by a group of students Thursday — videos of which were shared on social media. Ahtisham Bilal, a first-year student of Medical Imaging Technology, was allegedly beaten up by a group of students. The group had gathered to demand action against Afghan students, who allegedly beat up some Indian students on campus a few days ago.
Several police officers, including CO Greater Noida 1, and SDM Sadar were present on campus to defuse the situation and it was in the midst of this that Bilal was attacked. Bilal’s friend, who did not want to be named, told The Indian Express that he was targetted because he is Kashmiri.
“Bilal and I were sitting on the stairs. The demonstrating students were chanting slogans like ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ and ‘Hindustan zindabad’. Around four of them walked up to him and asked him if he is Kashmiri. When he said yes, they started beating him up. He lost his phone during the assault,” he claimed, adding that Bilal did not know the men who assaulted him.
Police, however, said that Bilal was attacked because of a prior disagreement with some students. “They took advantage of the chaos during the demonstration to beat him up. We were close by, so we intervened and took him to a hospital. He returned to the hostel in the afternoon,” said a police officer.
Police said they had not received any complaint from students. The university, meanwhile, said the incident was a “simple scuffle”. “It was in the midst of the demonstration that some kind of fist-fight broke out. In the crowd, it is not possible to identify who beat who,” said a university spokesperson.
However, with videos going viral on social media, PDP youth president Waheed Para took to Twitter to condemn the incident and urged the Home Minister to take steps to ensure security to Kashmiri students.
The university had suspended three Afghan students and issued showcause notices to 10 others who were involved in a fight in campus earlier.
It has also postponed its mid-term examination scheduled for Friday to Monday as a precautionary measure amidst the tension.