The Express Tribune

As I was writing this story, my phone beeped and an app of a private news channel flashed on my mobile phone. It was news that came to light today about a Kashmiri woman, who was allegedly raped by two jawans of the Indian Reserve Police.

I paused for a minute, looked at my phone, took a deep sigh and my keyboard started bearing a lot more burden as if I was venting out all my anguish with every key stroke.

Controversy regarding the Kashmiri students was brewing again and I was told to write a piece on it. Three students from Kashmir who study in a private University in Noida (National Capital Region) alleged that their fellow students misbehaved with them and forced them to shout anti-Pakistan slogans.

The student alleged that the fellow students ‘asked us to shout India Zindabad and Pakistan Murdabad’. The latest incident comes two months after over 60 students were expelled from a Meerut University as they were cheering for Pakistan cricket team during the Asia Cup match.

I immediately turned to my Kashmiri friends, who are studying with me in University in New Delhi for their reactions. One of them, Akbar, said: “As a Kashmiri I do not feel safe in any part of India.”

This remark took me more than two decades back to 1990, when a lot of Kashmiri students were arrested.

After having a detailed discussion with a few Kashmiris studying in my own university, I made out that they are being perceived as anti-state and a fear looms over their lives in India. They never go out alone and always move in groups as they feel safer that way.

Another Kashmiri student, who don’t want to be named for the obvious reasons, said, “Such incidents and attacks on Kashmiri students gives us an idea that India is not serious about peace in Kashmir and it does not want to keep the Kashmiris in its society.”

However, this incident has altogether been painted with political colours during the on-going high voltage elections in India, where the territory’s Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has lambasted anti-communal forces responsible for this incident. Taking the name of Bharatiya Janta Party’s prime ministerial candidate he said, “[Narendra] Modi is playing with fire”.

This is the third time that this type of incident has taken place in the state of Uttar Pradesh, the chief minister also took a dig at UP’s inability to tackle the situation and provide safety to the students and amidst his speech he took out time to praise the Congress led United Progressive Alliance (UPA II).

A lot of students from Kashmir come to India to study and for other business purposes that reflects some reconciliation on their part as they are contributing towards the Indian economy. But surely incidents like the one on hand and the propaganda that Kashmir is an integral part of India don’t go together.

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