Kashmiri students ‘silent’ sufferers in Afzal Guru row at JNU

Students from Kashmir at Jawaharlal Nehru University are a scared lot today after the row over an event on its campus against the hanging of Afzal Guru as police have been quietly approaching them in their rented accommodations and subjecting them to questioning.
After the February 9 incident where some anti-India slogans were allegedly raised, police is believed to have collected the names of Kashmiri students which sound similar to the names of the organisers of the Guru event.
“I woke up to two policemen knocking at my door earlier this week. They asked objectionable questions and also wanted to know whether I was in touch with any of the students they are looking for in connection with the event.
“They asked me whether I was present there on February 9? Why did I attend the programme and much more. They even asked for my passport and other ID proof,” said a female JNU Kashmiri student who resides in south Delhi.
She said that police, however, did not ask any questions to her roommate, a fellow JNU student but one who does not hail from Kashmir.
“They said this is part of the investigation and I should not withhold any information. They, however, did not pose similar questions to my roommate, who is not a Kashmiri,” she said.
A student who lives in a JNU hostel said, “Though I have not been approached by police directly probably because I am staying inside the campus, but police have gone to my house in Kashmir for some ‘verification’ during which they enquired about my presence in JNU. My parents are now pressurising me to come back.”
Police in Delhi and Kashmir are maintaining silence on the matter and did not wish to come on record on why they were quizzing Kashmiri students.
JNU students union Vice President Shehla Rashid Shora, the first Kashmiri girl to be elected to the JNU students’ body, said, “Fearing a witch-hunt in the aftermath of the event, some students have gone back to their homes in Kashmir till normalcy returns on campus. I have been told that random checks have been conducted in Malviya Nagar and Munirka targeting Kashmiri students.
“Some who were not even present on the campus on the day of the event have also switched off their phones. There is a constant atmosphere of fear and intimidation,” Shehla said.
Not only JNU students but Jamia Millia Islamia students hailing from Kashmir, too, have faced similar interrogation, she claimed.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah had yesterday lashed out at filmmaker Ashoke Pandit, a BJP supporter, for demanding interrogation of Shehla, saying now being a Kashmiri Muslim is a “crime” that warrants questioning.
“Now being a Kashmiri Muslim is crime enough to warrant interrogation. BTW (by the way) it’s Shehla not Sheila but what the hell!…. I’m a Kashmir Muslim AND I’m not a Ramdev supporter/follower. I’d better prepare for my interrogation,” he said in a series of tweets.
BJP MP Udit Raj had claimed last week that JNU students staying as tenants in south Delhi’s Munirka area were being asked to “vacate” their rooms as a result of a “motivated” campaign for branding the varsity as a den of “anti-nationals and traitors”.
He, however, did not specify if there were any Kashmiri students among them.
A row has erupted over an event on the JNU campus against Guru’s hanging where “anti-national” slogans are alleged to have been raised. Though none of the organisers of the event was a Kashmiri, slogans like ‘Kashmir ki azadi tak jang rahegi, Bharat ki barbadi tak jang rahegi’ were allegedly raised during the event.
JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar is in judicial custody in a sedition case in connection with the February 9 event which was organised to protest against the “judicial killing of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat and in solidarity with the struggle of Kashmiri migrants”.

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