67 Kashmiri students sent to their homes for celebrating Pak win
A university in Uttar Pradesh has packed off 67 students from Kashmir to their homes for celebrating Pakistan's victory over India in a cricket match on Sunday, prompting a top official to order an inquiry.
Vice-chancellor of Swami Vivekanand Subharti University (SVSU) Dr Manzoor Ahmad said "he was taken aback by such an unacceptable gesture of a few students".
"We can`t accept such behaviour from any student," he said.
The trouble began on Sunday night when a group of local and Kashmiri students were watching India-Pakistan cricket match in the hall of the varsity's Madan Dhingra Hostel.
A few Kashmiri students clapped every time an Indian player's wicket fell, and later celebrated the Pakistan win.
"Some students complained that a few students reportedly shouted Pakistan zindabad on way to their rooms," said Ahmad.
He said the authorities initially decided to suspend only those students who had shouted slogans.
"But a three-tier inquiry finally recommended all 67 Kashmiri students residing in Madan Dhingra Hostel be suspended indefinitely because they didn't reveal the names of the handful of wrongdoers actually involved in creating trouble," Ahmad said.
The VC said, "We were expecting the students to apologise. But when that did not happen, we had to suspend them all of them."
He rejected reports that local students had clashed with Kashmiri students or shouted slogans. The authorities had reported the matter to the police after realising anger was brewing among the local students living in other hostels, which could escalate the tensions.
"These students were dropped at Ghaziabad and Delhi railway stations under police security cover," said senior superintendent of police Omkar Singh.
More than 200 girls and boys from different parts of Jammu and Kashmir are pursuing various courses in the university.
Meanwhile, district magistrate Pankaj Yadav has asked additional city magistrate Ram Bharat Tiwari to inquire into the incident and submit his findings within a week.
The decision to suspend the students was taken by the varsity authorities without consulting the police or the district administration, the SSP said.
However, the parents of the students have told the media in the valley that a few students had been attacked by their local counterparts.
"There was a big confrontation and non-Kashmiri students had vandalised the rooms of our wards," a parent told Kashmir's largest circulated English daily, Greater Kashmir.
Another newspaper, Kashmir Reader, quoted Irfan Ahmad Rather, a BTech student at the varsity, saying, "We clapped when Pakistan won the match. This infuriated the local students and they went on a rampage, damaged the hall, hurled abuses at us and threatened to beat us."
A group of parents speaking to Hindustan Times, however, appreciated the varsity's move to give the students a safe passage to the valley.
In a signed letter released to the media, the group said that sending the students to Kashmir was a good step as it avoided any untoward incident. "There was a heated argument between some students but most students are innocent, so we think university authorities did a good thing by sending them to valley in order to avoid any clashes," said a parent.
(With inputs from Srinagar by Toufiq Rashid)