Students from Kashmir at Geeta Engineering College in Haryana’s Panipat district had a harrowing 24 hours from Sunday night to Monday evening after some men from a village in the area allegedly raised slogans during a candlelight march, demanding that their names be struck off the rolls.
“There was a candlelight march that was held by residents of a village here and some people raised slogans demanding that Kashmiris be expelled. Although police resolved the problem then, college authorities suggested we return to our homes because they were concerned that the situation could escalate,” said Mohsin Shafi Khan, a final year BTech student from Kashmir.
Although college officials could not be contacted, Khan said there are around 25 students from the state at the institution. “The police arrived again in the morning and reassured us that the situation would remain peaceful… Nothing like this has ever happened here before,” said Khan.
Sarpanch of the village, Naultha Dugran, also said the matter would not escalate.
“Some people did raise slogans, but they were stray elements. We are peace-loving people. We do not want violence. Three to four Kashmiri students from the college are staying as paying guests in our village and we have asked them to move to campus as a precautionary measure. We want to avoid any kind of confrontation,” said Sarpanch Ajmer Singh.
Police have said they are keeping an eye on the matter. “We have spoken to the residents of the village and they have reassured us that the situation will remain peaceful,” said SP Sumit Kumar. “We are keeping vigil and will ensure the situation remains calm,” he said.