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Kashmiri students’ arrest: We felt he was safer in Rajasthan than Kashmir, says Maqbool’s uncle

Five of his family members are with the Army and the Border Security Force (BSF).

Written by Mir Ehsan | Srinagar |
Updated: March 18, 2016 4:53:22 am
Saqib Ashraf, Mohd Maqbool, Shaukat Ali Butt, Hilal Ahmad on campus. Saqib Ashraf, Mohd Maqbool, Shaukat Ali Butt, Hilal Ahmad on campus.

Mohammad Maqbool Khan, 21, who was arrested with three other Kashmiri students of Mewar University in Rajasthan on Tuesday after protests by some residents who accused them of cooking beef in their hostel, is the first from his family to pursue higher studies under the Prime Minister’s scholarship scheme.

Five of his family members are with the Army and the Border Security Force (BSF).

Two days have passed since Maqbool’s uncle Ishaq Khan learnt of his arrest. But, he is yet to share the news with the family. Even Maqbool’s father Mansoor Ali Khan, who is serving in the BSF, does not know. “I have not shared this news with my brothers and nephews as they are away from home, serving the nation in different states,’’ he said.

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Ishaq added that it is his family’s dream to see Maqbool become an engineer. “We are a joint family and Maqbool has been a brilliant student right from his childhood. When he was selected for the Prime Minister’s scholarship scheme in 2014, it was a very special moment for all of us,” he added.

Khan said that when he called on Tuesday, Maqbool informed him about his arrest on Tuesday.

“For a moment, I saw my family’s dream crumbling. But, when I called the college administration, they were very positive and assured every help,” he said.

“I was so perturbed. I couldn’t muster courage to share the news with other family members as they always felt Maqbool was safer in Rajasthan than in Kashmir,’’ he said.

While Ishaq served in Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry Unit for nearly two decades, his older brother and Maqbool’s father is currently serving in West Bengal. Their younger brother is at Delhi, while two of Maqbool’s brothers are in the armed forces.

Khan said that Maqbool is still halfway through his BTech course. “Will my nephew be able to complete his education and become an engineer? Do you think a similar episode will not take place in the future?’’ he asked.

For Sakib’s father Bashir Ahmad Degloo, the arrest of his son was equally disturbing. “I had sent my son to Chittorgarh hoping that he will receive good education there, but on Tuesday, when he called and told me about his arrest, I was shocked. I called the college principal and his assurance gave me relief,” he said.

Degloo, who drives a private vehicle, told The Indian Express that he always hoped that his son would become a senior officer. “I am still hopeful that my son will fulfil my dream and complete his education without any hindrance,” he said.

Ali Mohammad Bhat from Handwara, whose son Shaukat Ali was among the ones arrested, said he sent his son outside the state owing to the frequent shutdowns in the Valley.

“I sent him to Chittorgarh college because I wanted him to get quality education. From Day One, the college administration assured me that Kashmiri students are safe there,’’ he said, adding that government should take steps to avoid a repeat of such incidents. “The episode was disturbing, but there are no worries now,’’ he said.

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