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The 67 Kashmiri students, suspended from their college in Uttar Pradesh for allegedly cheering the Pakistan cricket team earlier this month, will return to pursue their studies only after the Lok Sabha elections are over in Meerut constituency, which is going to polls on April 10. Sources say the decision was taken to keep ‘the students safe’.
“We don’t want the students to become anybody’s poll plank,’’ said a source privy to the arrangement. “There were statements in Srinagar by various political parties, there were statements in Uttar Pradesh, the students would get into trouble over the issue again,’’ the source added.
While BJP has complained to Election Commission (EC) saying the dropping of sedition charges was against the model code of conduct, India’s most wanted terrorist Hafiz Sayeed had announced scholarships for the students to study in Pakistan. CM of the state, Omar Abdullah, had sent his emissaries to visit the campus of Meerut’s Swami Vivekananda Subharti University.
The meeting was attended by academicians and NGOs who have been working on Prime Ministers scholarship scheme for minorities. Speaking to HT on Sunday, Junaid Azim Mattoo, who was deputed by Omar to visit the university, confirmed that the matter has been resolved. According to sources, parents of the suspended students would need to visit the university individually and meet the authorities.
The state government has turned down the UP administration’s suggestion to shift these boys to a new university. The Jammu and Kashmir government is also planning to set up country-wide helpline for students from the Valley.