The controversy over 67 Kashmiri students being suspended by a university in Uttar Pradesh is refusing to fade away.
Three students from the Valley have levelled fresh allegations of misbehaviour against Meerut's Swami Vivekanand Subharti University, which had sent 67 students to their homes for celebrating Pakistan's victory over India in a cricket match earlier this month.
The three students have said that though they were not part of the crowd packed off to the Valley, they were treated in an unfair way by the university authorities — a claim contradicted by a leader of the ruling National Conference (NC) who has reportedly looked into the issue.
Fearing retribution, the three students claimed to have returned to Kashmir after the group of 67 faced the heat for rooting for Pakistan, and were allegedly dissuaded from attending classes following their return.
One of them said that after not being allowed to join classes last week, he had to return to the Valley again.
However, Junaid Azim Mattu, an NC leader appointed by chief minister Omar Abdullah to take stock of the matter, said the issue stood resolved.
"I am in touch with the university authorities. They require a cooling-off period. The place (Meerut) is also going for polls soon. "Only three students had returned to the campus so far... they were asked to join the classes later. It seems these young students are being exploited in the politically charged atmosphere," said Mattu.
The fresh development has prompted some from the group of 67 to seek migration to another university.
HT has already reported that Swami Vivekanand Subharti University is willing to take these students back once the general elections are over in Meerut, which goes to polls on April 10. The UP government has assured the Jammu and Kashmir government that there will be no witch-hunt in the case.
Younis Gowhar, a physiotherapy student sent home for cheering for Pakistan, said, "I was planning to return to the campus... (but) My juniors called me up and said they were not allowed to attend to the classes." Gowhar added he wanted to migrate to another institute.
NC leader Mattu said if the students demand migration, "we can ask the university to expedite the process".
BBA student Muteeb-ul-Majid said, "We fear for our lives. We find it hard to continue studies in a university where we were booked for sedition. We are asking the government to help us migrate."
He added, "I did not watch the second innings (of the India-Pakistan match) at the hostel, but I was at the receiving end for something I had not done."
The 67 students, who were studying on the Prime Minister's Special Scholarship Scheme for free, were booked for sedition, promoting enmity between different groups and mischief.
The sedition charge was dropped following an outcry from all political parties. The issue turned into a political game, with separatists demanding the students' return to the Valley and offering them scholarships.