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300 Kashmiri students flee to Jammu and Delhi

Allege large-scale eviction from campuses and hostels

Nearly 300 Kashmiri students, who arrived in Jammu and Delhi on Monday from colleges in Uttarakhand, alleged large-scale eviction 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 authorities and local hostel owners were warned of dire consequences 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 harassed too. A local, Rashid Pahalwan, shifted us to a secure locality on Friday.”

Mr. Rather and 70 others drove 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 appealed 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 social boycott of Kashmiris and cannot provide any vehicle. We then contacted transporters of Paonta Himachal, who obliged,” said a student from the BFIT Group of Institutions.

Many of these students 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 alleged they were asked 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 authorities assured accommodation in hostels,” the spokesman said.

The spokesman said some of the students from Dehradun arrived in Delhi on Sunday evening and were accommodated in J&K House.

The government-run helplines also witnessed 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 administration has advised all the students and their parents “not to pay heed to any rumors and try to stay put at their respective places”. Liaison officers have been designated 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 spokesman.

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