Hyderabad: 16 students hailing from Jammu and Kashmir studying in two universities in Punjab were beaten up by students said to be from “UP and Bihar” after Pakistan defeated India in the T20 cricket match yesterday.
A video shared by Nasir Khuehami, the national spokesperson for Jammu and Kashmir Students Association (JKSA), on Twitter shows the room in which the Kashmiri students were watching the match. The broken handle of a chair, the mattresses with all its stuffing pulled out and the chipped study table upturned all bare proof to the haphazard manner in which the scuffle must have ensued.
The video shows a Kashmir student saying, “We are here to study and hum bhi Indian hain.” Putting aside the political deliberations and various opinions on Kashmir and its statehood, this instance seems to highlight the growing trend of Islamophobia creeping its way into various pockets of the country.
The students claim that they were beaten up by other students hailing from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar while chants of “Go to Pakistan” were repeated in an insistent and aggressive manner. In fact, this attack comes a few hours after Indian bowler Mohammad Shami received abuses on social media with people calling him a “Muslim siding with Pakistan”.
Speaking to Siasat.com, Nasir Khuehami remarked that the scuffle at Bhai Gurudas Institute of Engineering and Technology (Bhai GIET) in Sangrur commenced soon after India lost to Pakistan.
‘Be it the 12 students at Bhai GIET or the four students in Rayat Bahra University in Mohali, all of them were attacked without any provocation. Four of them were badly injured and were unable to protect themselves,” remarked Khuehami.
When questioned about religious markers, Khuehami remarked that all of the victims were Kashmiri Muslims and it is inferable that the attack was motivated not just by geography but by a deep-rooted bias against Muslims.
A third-year B.Tech student enrolled at Bhai GIET requested anonymity before remarking that in his three years of study, he had never witnessed an attack of this kind in the campus limits.
“The irony of the situation is that I was actually cheering for India to win the match. Faraq nai padtha, par Pakistan ko support karte hain iska matlab ye nahi ki India main nai rehte. (Not that it matters anyway, but just because some support Pakistan, it does not mean that we don’t reside in or value India.)
The student while expressing gratitude to the Institute’s Chairman who aided the badly injured students also claimed that he was unwilling to let the issue precipitate. “College management rusticate karne ki baat kar rahe tha. Hum bol diye ki unko hostel se nikal de toh kaafi hain,” (College management was ready to rusticate the attackers but we said that if they were removed from the hostel that sufficed. Rustication seemed far too drastic.)
The Chairman of Bhai GIET is said to have taken the injured students to a local health facility and the police are said to be looking into the matter. As things stand, there is no clear word on what the situation with the students at Rayat Bahra University is.