Kashmiri Girls Forced Out of Punjab College Hostel at Night

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SRINAGAR: About 40 Kashmiri girls studying in a college in Punjab were kicked out of their hostel at night hours by the college authorities and forced to stay in open for entire night, reports reaching here said on Monday. The incident has sparked an outrage in the Kashmir valley, with netizens taking to social media to denounce the action.

The girls studying in Desh Bhagat Dental College at Muktsar in Punjab were forced to spend sleepless night in the open after the college authorities shunted them out at night without consideration of their security.

The college authorities reportedly ordered the hostel inmates to vacate the hostel at odd hours in wake of strike by college students against filling of some seats from management quota, according to Punjab News Express. The Kashmiri girl students were apparently punished after some students putting up in the hostel damaged a computer.

The college authorities are alleging that students have damaged the computer and it led to loss of data, the report said.

The Kashmiri girls blamed the college authorities for forcing them out of hostel along with luggage at dead of the night. They said that there was no arrangement of their security. The college authorities had threatened the girls to lodge an FIR against them and impose heavy fine if hostel is not vacated, News  Express reported.

The Additional Deputy Commissioner Muktsar Kuljit Pal Singh had reportedly visited the college during the day to investigate the causes of strike by students. He reportedly found the computer intact and not damaged by the students.

KO Analysis: Point To Ponder

About 40 Kashmiri girl students were forced to spend the night out in the open by college authorities in Punjab. The college in contention, Desh Bhagat Dental College, in Muktsar, Punjab, had allegedly threatened the vulnerable girls stern action against them in the form of an FIR if the girls would not vacate the hostel. According to the college, the girls had damaged computers belonging to the college; while as according to the girls, they had merely complained about filling of college seats from the management quota. Regardless of who is right in this case, the punishment meted out to the girls is extreme and unwarranted. Girls who go to other states for study or work are already vulnerable; they live and work or study in alien and different environments which makes if difficult for them. Their sense of vulnerability and threat is heightened in these different settings and moreover this has happened in a country where female folk are at risk. The Delhi rape incident springs to mind here. Amidst all this, the College authorities meted punishment to these girls from Kashmir that was extreme, disproportionate and distasteful in total disregard of the girls’ security and safety.

Moreover, the girls are Kashmiri. The punishment meted out may be colored with prejudice and discrimination. The broader point is that these incidents which smack of discrimination against Kashmiris studying or working elsewhere in the country are on the rise and there has been no corrective action taken by governments of any hue or coloration in Kashmir. A lack of reaction by authorities here may embolden people elsewhere to take liberties with Kashmiris. This is as sad as can be. At a time when Kashmiris are facing severe tests and tribulations, insult is added to injury with these incidents. This will naturally and inevitably lead to alienation and disaffection. Pertinent to mention here is that given the rise in these incidents, why cant we as a society pool our resources together and create educational avenues and opportunity structures for our boys and girls so that they don’t have to leave the state and amidst insecurity and discrimination elsewhere? This is a point to ponder.

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