Almost 300 Kashmiri students, who came in Jammu and Delhi on Monday from schools in Uttarakhand, alleged large-scale removal from the campuses and hostels in the past three days.
“It first started on the social media groups run by right-wing political parties in Dehradun [capital of Uttarakhand] on February 14 [the day Pulwama incident took place]. The college administrators and local hostel owners were warned of dire outcomes if Kashmiri students were not evicted within 24 hours,” said J. Rather (name changed), a B.Tech student in the Dev Bhoomi Group of Institutions who stayed in Bhauwala. “Our Muslim landlord was attacked too. A local, Rashid Pahalwan, moved us to a secure locality on Friday.”
Mr. Rather and 70 others rode all night in 14 vehicles split into two groups to reach Jammu around 9 a.m. on Monday. They have now taken shelter inside the Makkah Masjid in the curfew-bound Bathindi area and have urged to the government to “provide security” for their onward journey.
“We first contacted the Uttarakhand transport authority for buses or light vehicles. We were told there is a call for the social boycott of Kashmiris and cannot provide any vehicle. We then reached transporters of Paonta Himachal, who obliged,” said a student from the BFIT Group of Institutions.
Many of these pupils who are now looking at a bleak future had opted for the Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS) to help students of conflict-ridden Kashmir.
A girl student said many girls were stranded at the Nest Hostel in Sidhuwalla. “Girl students from the Baba Farid Institute of Technology and Dolphin (PG) Institute of Biomedical and Natural Sciences also want to return but fear to travel alone,” she said.
Many students claimed they were ordered to leave hostels and take late-evening flights from Dehradun. “My friend paid over ₹20,000 for tickets. Many students had no cash,” said another student.
A J&K government spokesman on Monday confirmed that “a lot of distress calls were made by students from Dehradun”. “There were numerous calls from students of different colleges, including Baba Farid Institute of Technology, Alpine Institute, Dolphin Institute, SBS Medical College, etc. The college officials assured service in hostels,” the spokesman said.
The spokesman said some of the pupils from Dehradun landed in Delhi on Sunday evening and were served in J&K House.
The government-run helplines also observed incidents of alleged harassment from Maharaishi Narkendeshwar Mullana University, Ambala, where 104 students are putting up. “These hostels are well guarded by the police,” he said.
The J&K government has advised all the students and their parents “not to pay heed to any rumours and try to stay put at their respective places”. Liaison officers have been selected for all zones of the country to help any student in any distress. “These liaison officers are at six regions of the country including Delhi NCR- Meerut, Jaipur, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Aligarh, Bengaluru, Pune,” said the spokesperson.