Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Kashmiri Muslim students attacked by fellow students in Jammu college over criticism against ‘The Kerala Story’

Kashmiri Muslim students studying at Government Medical College, Jammu, were subjected to physical assaults by fellow students holding Hindutva ideologies and people outside campus following a dispute regarding the Hindutva film “The Kerala Story,” directed by Sudipto Sen.

On May 14, the Kashmiri Muslim students were attacked by Hindu students from different batches within the college hostel. A student who participated in the protest against the assault on May 15, informed Maktoob that a disagreement within an official WhatsApp group of first-year students about The Kerala Story escalated into the incident.

Umar Farooq, a 22-year-old first-year medical student, and Haseeb Ahmad, a 23-year-old fourth-year medical student, were taken to the hospital for treatment of their injuries.

Haseeb recounted his experience to Maktoob, stating that he was caught in the middle of the scuffle and unaware of the argument.

He said, “I was struck from behind with either a wooden log or an iron rod while on the stairs, resulting in 12 stitches on my head.”

Haseeb declined to provide further comments based on legal advice from his lawyer.

Umar informed Maktoob that he sustained injuries to his left shoulder and head, and several others were also harmed. Due to his health condition, Umar refrained from providing additional details.

Speaking anonymously, a third-year student who was injured in the attack revealed to Maktoob that Kashmiri Muslim students were specifically targeted because of their firm opposition to Hindutva.

The student said, “The issue originated when a student named Deepak shared about the movie in the college WhatsApp group, ‘MBBS Prof 1 General Group,’ with the caption, ‘must watch for woke people.’ Another group member, Arif, requested Deepak to refrain from forwarding such messages. Several students voiced their opposition to messages that disrupted communal harmony. Later in the evening, a group of final-year students, including Anakit and Arunesh, along with Deepak, confronted Arif with the intention of assaulting him. In response to the escalating violence, final-year students from Kashmir intervened to protect Arif and defuse the situation, resulting in a widespread brawl among the students. Anakit, incited by his friends, struck Haseeb on the head, who had only stepped in to diffuse the conflict and protect other students.”

A second-year student said to Maktoob that they were attacked by outsiders who arrived in two vehicles and trespassed onto the hostel premises. In an attempt to avoid detection by CCTV cameras, they turned off the lights.

The student refuted claims made by right-wing media, asserting that the media is distorting the reality by portraying the attackers as victims and depicting the Kashmiri Muslims as the aggressors. The student also denied allegations that the Kashmiri students chanted pro-Pakistani and Azadi slogans, instead accusing the outsiders of chanting “Jai Shri Ram” slogans.

Furthermore, the student accused supporters of “The Kerala Story” of actively polarizing students for several months.

Shashi Sudhan Sharma, the principal of GMC, announced that ten students from the hostel will be expelled for a period of two months, with restricted attendance at classes until the completion of the investigation.

The Principal of Government Medical College (GMC), Shashi Sudhan Sharma, announced that 10 students from the hostel will be expelled for two months, and their attendance at classes will be restricted until the completion of an investigation following an altercation between some students and outsiders in the GMC hostel in Jammu.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Jammu, Chandan Kohli stated, “There has been an incident of scuffle between some students and outsiders in GMC hostel Jammu. Cognisance of the matter has been taken, and investigation is going on.”

A case has been registered under FIR No. 65/2023 u/s 147, 323 IPC.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti expressed their protest and demanded action. Omar tweeted, “Very distressing images of gunda elements targeting Kashmiri students in Jammu. @JmuKmrPolice must take cognisance of this & ensure those responsible are brought to book. @OfficeOfLGJandK must ensure this is done in a time-bound manner & reassure students that their safety will not be compromised at the altar of politics”.

Reacting to the incident, Mehbooba Mufti tweeted, “Shocking that GOI promotes & encourages violence through movies stoking communal fires. The blood of innocents is being spilled to quench BJP’s insatiable thirst for petty electoral dividends. Request @OfficeOfLGJandK ji to take cognisance & punish the culprits.”

The Jammu and Kashmir Students Association posted on Facebook, “We have received distressing calls from GMC Jammu, reporting that a group of Kashmiri students have been injured as a result of a recent altercation over the Kerala Story issue. One student was attacked with an iron rod & sustained head injuries with 12 stitches. We strongly urge @OfficeOfLGJandK to intervene & take immediate action to address the situation. Requesting to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident & take appropriate measures to ensure the safety & security of all students. It is critical that we work together to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future & to foster an environment of peace & tolerance on campus.”

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