Kashmiri students, who were suspended by a private university in Meerut for cheering for Pakistan during a cricket match against India, speak with the media in Srinagar yesterday.
Srinagar: Kashmiri students expelled from a Uttar Pradesh university after they were accused of celebrating Pakistan cricket team’s victory over India yesterday alleged victimisation by administration officials and police.
Kashmiri students of Swami Vivekanand Subharti University (SVSU) in Meerut said 67 of them were forced to leave the college after the administration called police to ensure their eviction from the hostel.
The students were accused of celebrating the victory of Pakistan cricket team in a crucial match of Asia Cup championship in Dhaka.
“We were ordered to leave the hostel immediately and head back home. Police arrived at the college in full riot gear with tear smoke shells and lathis,” said Aijaz, a B.Tech student of SVSU Meerut.
“We had no option but to abandon the hostel. Some of us did not even have the money to pay for the train fare.”
“The locals at the hostel had been shouting and hooting during the match as India looked poised for the victory,” he said.
“When the match took a different turn after Shahid Afridi’s batting, some of our friends also started shouting as a reaction. That is all we did, for which we have been punished,” Aijaz said,
He was accompanied by some other fellow students who said the same thing. “As soon as the match ended, the Indian students chased us. We hid in our rooms. They abused us and threw and stones at our rooms and broke our laptops. They said Kashmiris and Pakistanis should leave,” one of the students, Ghulzar Ahmad, said.
Reports here said the Meerut police have registered a case of sedition against the Kashmiri students. The expelled students said they recorded the conduct of Meerut police and college administration towards them in their cellphones, but those were seized by police.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said in Jammu yesterday that charging Kashmiri students with a serious crime like sedition would spoil their academic career.
He wrote on his twitter handle: “I believe the university did what it had to to control the situation but this action by the UP Govt (Uttar Pradesh government) is uncalled for and should be reversed.” “...while what the boys may have done in Meerut is misguided it certainly isn’t illegal, regardless of whom they were cheering.”
“The sad fact is that some of these students are recipients of the PM scholarship for Kashmiris. Perhaps They need to introspect.”
Abdullah also wrote in his tweet that he “will talk to UP CM (Uttar Pradesh chief minister)... to intervene on behalf of these misguided students to have this charge of sedition removed”.
The reports of their treatment drew protests from Pakistan. “We witnessed wonderful cricket. We know that Kashmiris celebrated Pakistan’s victory,” a Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said. “If these Kashmiri students want to come and pursue their studies in Pakistan, our hearts and our academic institutions are open to them.”