Kashmiri students treated shabbily after Pulwama

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Strap across: Say they are shouted at, ignored, called anti-national

Kashmiri students in Bengaluru are looked at with suspicion more than a month after a terrorist attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama.

“My fellow students don’t interact with me properly anymore. They blame people from my state and, by extension, me for the Pulwama attack.They keep calling me an anti-national. I have lost all my friends in college and also my peace of mind,” Zakir Tayuub, an engineering student, informed The Observer.

Similar is the experience of Shaibaz Haider, an engineering student. “Most of my companions blame me, a Kashmiri, for the dastardly attack. My roommate has changed his room because he doesn’t want to share it with an anti-national. My classmates think that Kashmir nurtures terrorists. They don’t want to be friends with a Kashmiri anymore.”

Meeraj Akhtar, an MBA student, said: “Most of my friends have started ignoring me since the dastardly attack. Whenever I ask them anything, they either yell at me or turn away. They don’t understand that even we are deeply disturbed by that heinous deed which claimed the lives of several soldiers. We Kashmiris are not proud of it…. No words can provide comfort to the families of the CRPF jawans who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. Kashmir is not outside India. People should realise this.”

Recently, a 24-year-old Kashmiri student was attacked by a group of young men in southeast Bengaluru on March 20. According to a Deccan Herald report, Absar Zahoor Dar, a resident of Srinagar, suffered grievous injuries to his hand, head, and face.

Ali Hassan, who is pursuing a masters degree, shared: “Since the Pulwama attack, I am treated as an outcast in my college. Students ignore me or tease me when I try to speak to them. They fail to comprehend that Kashmiris are Indians too.”

Rubina Haque, a BA student, feels she is being isolated. “I have my lunch by myself and return home alone. After the terror attack in Pulwama, my classmates have grown a certain loathing for me. We were supposed to complete a group assignment. However, no student in my class wanted me as a member of his/her group. A few of them went so far as to say that since I was a Kashmiri and a Kashmiri was behind the attack, I was evil.”

Adil Ahmed Dar, 20, a local resident, rammed an SUV laden with 300 kg of explosives into a CRPF convoy travelling from Jammu to Srinagar. The attack killed 40 CRPF personnel.

“Since the perpetrator of the attack was a Kashmiri, we are seen as a threat to the nation. Not only my classmates, but even the cooks, peons and akkas have stopped speaking to me. Everyone in my college fails to understand I am an Indian just like them,” said Ayesha Khatoon, a final-year medical student.

Most of the students agree with a petition filed against by an NGO in the Supreme Court against Article 35A. They say the Article is against the “very spirit of oneness of India”.

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