A day after 12 students from Kashmir were thrashed in Dehradun by members of right-wing groups including Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), the situation worsened on Saturday as Kashmiri students including girls from the Valley locked themselves inside their hostel rooms and rented houses in Dehradun.
In the wake of the recent terror attack in south Kashmir where up to 40 CRPF personnel were killed, right-wing groups in Dehradun called Kashmiris as “traitors” and demanded all Kashmiri students to leave the city “within 24 hours”.
Earlier today, around 20 girl students from the Valley locked themselves in one of the hostel rooms after a mob surrounded the hostel. Several students told The Indian Express that in the prevailing conditions they fear for their lives.
J&K #Police has established a #helpline for the #assistance of #Students/#generalpublic who are presently staying outside J&K in case they find any difficulty. You can call us for any kind of assistance on 0194-2451515. @JmuKmrPolice
— Kashmir Zone Police (@KashmirPolice) February 16, 2019
A 24-year-old student from the Valley pursuing MSc Zoology in Dolphin Institute, who was amongst the girls trapped in the room, told The Indian Express on the condition of anonymity: “We are up to 20 girls and we have locked ourselves inside our hostel rooms. Hundreds of people have surrounded our hostel. Many of them have lathis and stones. We have switched off the lights. We asked the police for help and they came here, but they are asking us to face the mob and apologise. What should we apologise for? They are calling us traitors, but we haven’t done anything to be called that. We can’t open the door. We are very scared. We have no one to ask for help.”
A male student, 23, from Kashmir’s Baramulla studying MSc Geology at BFIT, who did not wish to be named, told The Indian Express, “A mob thrashed two Kashmiri students in front of BFIT yesterday (on Friday). Later, three people reached our rented room, thumping on the door asking us to come out. They asked us whether we were Kashmiris and later came back with over 100 people. They were repeating slogans like ‘Hindustan ke gaddaron ko goli maro (Shoot the traitors of the country)’. We are trapped in the house. The owner is asking us to leave for home, but how do we even enter the streets. The mob is everywhere. We are very scared.”
Nasir Khuehami, a spokesperson of Jammu and Kashmir Students’ Organisation, said, “I have spoken to the police regarding the safety of the Kashmiri students and they have assured me that they will ensure the safety of the students.” The members of the organisation comprise of Kashmiri students across North India colleges and institutes.
“We have rented 20 rooms in Chandigarh so that the students who feel unsafe in Dehradun can leave the city (temporarily) and reside in Chandigarh, but the situation is so bad that the students are unable to even step out of their residences,” Khuehami said.
Up to 3,000 Kashmiri students are currently studying in various colleges and institutes in Dehradun. The five institutes in Dehradun where most Kashmiri students are currently studying are Baba Farid Institute of Technology (BFIT), Dev Bhoomi Institute of Technology (DBIT), Dolphin Institute, Alpine Institute of Management and Technology and Ras Bihari Bose Subharti University.
While Dehradun police denied that any incident of violence against the Kashmiri students, videos of the students being hit before the police went viral on social media on Saturday.
DG (law & order) Ashok Kumar told The Indian Express, “Since yesterday (Friday) police has been deployed near all institutes in Dehradun where Kashmiri students study. The students are making a big deal out of nothing. They are completely safe. Any student who is scared of any mob can directly contact the police and we will provide all the required help.”
Kumar further said that the police had spoken to the heads of all the institutes in Dehradun who assured that no Kashmiri student will be let go. “None of the institutes will let go of any Kashmiri student because of the prevailing conditions, the institute authorities have assured us,” Kumar said.