Srinagar: Shortly after Pakistan thrashed India in the T20 World Cup on Sunday night, at least seven Kashmiri students were beaten up by their classmates, from other states, at two educational institutes in Punjab.
The students alleged that more than two dozen students from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar attacked them after breaking into their hostel rooms at two institutes -- Bhai Gurdas Institute of Engineering and Technology in Punjab’s Sangrur district and the Rayat Bahrat University in Kharar.
"We thought they would kill us. They beat us blue and black,” a student at Bhai Gurdas Institute, Kamil Rashid Sheikh told Kashmir Observer over the phone. “They were angry because of India’s defeat and they went out their anger on us."
Videos of the "attack" uploaded on the internet by students at the Rayat Bahrat institute showed ransacked hostel rooms of Kashmiri students.
Mohammad Aaqib, also an engineering student at the Bhai Gurdas Institute told Kashmir Observer that after the scuffle, the police and college administration reached the spot and tried to pacify the situation. “But we are still fearing for our lives, the attack was horrific,” he said.
A senior police official alleged to Indian Express that over 90 Kashmiri students who are staying in the hostel had cheered when Pakistan won. “They also raised azadi slogans," he alleged.
Mohammad Basit, a student from the Rayat Bahrat University said that over 500 students from Kashmir living in rented accommodation near the college were asked to vacate by local residents.
“A few students burst the fire crackers after Pakistan beat India," he admitted. "This enraged the people living in the society and they told us to vacate." The police, he added, was helping Kashmiri students shift to other locations.
Nasir Khuehami, spokesperson of the Jammu and Kashmir Student Association told Kashmir Observer that the organisation had raised the issue with the concerned authorities who promised a prompt action against the attackers.
He said students were mercilessly thrashed, punched on their faces. “They were beaten to pulp by other state Students who barged in their rooms, thrashed them & went on rampage, vandalised the rooms of students, damaged the belongings & beat up a few others” he said.
Prior to Sunday's historic match, Khuehami wrote in Kashmir Observer appealing to students to stay calm and control their emotions during the match - forewarning the violence against young students in Indian colleges.
This is not the first time Kashmiris have been attacked in colleges across India. The mob violence against Kashmiris has escalated in recent years owing to the growing impunity to such acts.
Condemning the “unwarranted and unjustified” attack on students, Khuehami urged Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi for action against the accused and to provide security to the Kashmiri students studying and working in Punjab state.
Punjab has long been considered a "safe state" by Kashmiris. Sunday night's assault on the students, many told Kashmir Observer, were led by students from other states.
This association has taken up the matter with Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, after which a senior police official from J&K reportedly spoke to the Punjab Director General of Police.
"They have informed that they have taken full measures to protect all students from Kashmir and also take measures to see that the Relationship Between Kashmiri students and others remains cordial," Khuehami added.
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